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Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Sep;114(9):1318-24.

Climate change and human health impacts in the United States: an update on the results of the U.S. national assessment.

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ESS, LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.


The health sector component of the first U.S. National Assessment, published in 2000, synthesized the anticipated health impacts of climate variability and change for five categories of health outcomes: impacts attributable to temperature, extreme weather events (e.g., storms and floods) , air pollution, water- and food-borne diseases, and vector- and rodent-borne diseases. The Health Sector Assessment (HSA) concluded that climate variability and change are likely to increase morbidity and mortality risks for several climate-sensitive health outcomes, with the net impact uncertain. The objective of this study was to update the first HSA based on recent publications that address the potential impacts of climate variability and change in the United States for the five health outcome categories. The literature published since the first HSA supports the initial conclusions, with new data refining quantitative exposure-response relationships for several health end points, particularly for extreme heat events and air pollution. The United States continues to have a very high capacity to plan for and respond to climate change, although relatively little progress has been noted in the literature on implementing adaptive strategies and measures. Large knowledge gaps remain, resulting in a substantial need for additional research to improve our understanding of how weather and climate, both directly and indirectly, can influence human health. Filling these knowledge gaps will help better define the potential health impacts of climate change and identify specific public health adaptations to increase resilience.

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