Climate Change & Human Health
Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The NCA represents the most accurate and expertly reviewed science on climate change’s current impacts in the United States, as well as projected impacts over the next several decades. Chapter 9 of the NCA focuses on impacts on Human Health.
A changing climate impacts our health and wellbeing. The major public health organizations of the world have said that climate change is a critical public health problem. Climate change makes many existing diseases and conditions worse, but it may also help introduce new pests and pathogens into new regions or communities. As the planet warms, oceans expand and the sea level rises, floods and droughts become more frequent and intense, and heat waves and hurricanes become more severe. The most vulnerable people—children, the elderly, the poor, and those with underlying health conditions—are at increased risk for health effects from climate change. Climate change also stresses our health care infrastructure and delivery systems.
Steps can be taken to lessen climate change (“mitigation”) and reduce its impacts on our health and the health of future generations (“adaptation”). Some of these steps can yield benefits for our health, environment, economy, and society at the same time. The federal government has called for efforts to support adaptation and mitigation of climate change to create healthier, more sustainable communities. The goals of the NIEHS Climate Change and Human Health Program align with these efforts.
- Provide research on human health impacts related to climate change and adaptation
- Raise awareness and create new partnerships to advance key areas of health research and knowledge development on human health effects of climate change
- Serve as an authoritative source of information on human health effects of climate change for NIEHS stakeholders, including the public
- Represent NIEHS science in climate change research and policy activities at the NIH, HHS, federal government, and international levels
John M. Balbus, M.D.
Senior Advisor for Public Health
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
31 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2256
Tel (301) 496-2920
Fax (301) 496-0563
Caroline Dilworth, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-7727
Fax (919) 316-4606
Banalata (Bono) Sen, Ph.D.
Tel (919) 541-4692
Kimberly Thigpen Tart, J.D.
Tel (919) 541-5377
Fax (301) 496-0563