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Asia Pac J Public Health. 2011 Mar;23(2 Suppl):46S-53. doi: 10.1177/1010539510391771. Epub 2011 Jan 17.

Climate change, aeroallergens, natural particulates, and human health in Australia: state of the science and policy.

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  • 1Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. paul.beggs@mq.edu.au

Abstract

The objective of this article is to systematically review and assess what is known about the impacts of climate change on aeroallergens and other naturally derived particulates, and the associated human health impacts, and to examine responses to these in Australia, focusing on adaptation. Prior research was searched using several general and discipline-specific research databases. The review concludes that whereas there is little original research on the impacts of climate change on aeroallergens and other naturally derived particulates in Australia, or the human health consequences of these, research from overseas suggests that these impacts may be adverse and of considerable magnitude. More research is required to assess the impacts of climate change on these airborne particles and associated diseases in Australia and other parts of the Asia-Pacific. There are important policy implications of this review. There is a need for enhanced monitoring of the atmospheric environment and associated health conditions in Australia. Education about climate change and human health in general, and air quality and related diseases specifically, is required for the community, health professionals, and others. Improvements are needed in the preparedness of infrastructure, such as health care facilities and early warning systems, particularly for aeroallergens, and all of these adaptive policy responses require further research.

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