In a joint letter to Congress and the White House (PDF), 120 public health organizations emphasized the health-related consequences of climate change as they urged both branches of government to support measures that would reduce the risk of climate change and also strengthen the nation's public health system to respond to its effects.
Health groups urge action on climate change
“Climate change is affecting and will affect the life of every single child on Earth,” Jerome Paulson, a physician who serves as co-director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health & the Environment, Children's National Medical Center, told reporters in a teleconference. In a four-page letter, 18 national public health organizations, 66 state-level health groups and experts in 36 states—including the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association and Trust for America's Health—highlighted the seriousness of climate change, saying that as “temperatures rise, more Americans will be exposed to conditions that can result in illness and death due to respiratory illness, heat-and-weather related stress, and disease carried by insects.”
The letter said it is essential to strengthen the nation's public health system so that public health agencies and groups can help protect communities from the effects of heat waves, wildfires, floods, droughts and infectious diseases. “But we must also address the root of the problem, which means reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change,” the letter said. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for protecting the public's health from climate change, and we urge you to fully support the EPA in fulfilling its responsibilities.”
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