10 important articles for Earth Day
April 22 is Earth Day, an annual event to highlight the importance of clean air, water and land that was first observed 51 years ago, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Since then, researchers have linked both air pollution and climate change to numerous health problems.
Neelima Tummala, MD, a physician in the department of otolaryngology at The GW Medical Faculty Associates, encouraged physicians to “sound the alarm” about climate change.
“Climate change is one of the greatest public health threats ever encountered,” she told Healio Primary Care. “While politics may not belong in the exam room, policy that impacts health does. Advocating for policies that mitigate the health concerns of global warming and air pollution is in the best interest of our patients, and this work is essential to our mission of caring for patients.”
Clinicians are also “important messengers” who can help their patients understand the connection between climate action and health, according to Aparna Bole, MD, FAAP, an associate professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
“Climate change is already affecting the health of our patients, with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations,” said Bole, who is also a board co-chair at Practice Greenhealth, an organization that promotes sustainable health care. “And we know that climate solutions confer immediate health benefits.”
In recognition of Earth Day, Healio Primary Care pulled 10 recent articles that focus on the link between pollution or climate change and health, and what physicians are doing to address it.
Models predict climate change responsible for thousands of additional deaths by 2095
By 2095, compared with the year 2000, an additional 21,000 deaths attributable to increases in particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter may occur in the United States, a recent model showed. Read more.
Small rise in long-term air pollution exposure may increase risk for COVID-19 death
An increase of 1 microgram per cubic meter in a U.S. county’s long-term average exposure to fine particle pollutants appeared to raise that area’s COVID-19 mortality rate, data from a preliminary ecological regression analysis show. Read more.
Climate change linked to increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes
Maternal exposure to heat, ozone or fine particulate matter related to climate change was associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a systematic review published in JAMA Network Open. Read more.
Children ‘particularly vulnerable’ to health threats from climate change
Rising temperatures, declining crop yields, air pollution and other adverse environmental outcomes of climate change pose a threat to the long-term health of children, according to The Lancet’s annual update on health and climate change. Read more.
Q&A: Climate psychiatry making strides to tackle psychological fallout of climate change
The field of climate psychiatry, although relatively new, is beginning to tackle some of the psychological fallout of the growing climate crisis, according to Beth Mark, MD, MES, staff psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Counseling & Psychological Services. Read more.
Climate change a possible factor in last year’s increase in EEE
Between 2003 and 2018, the United States recorded an average of eight cases of eastern equine encephalitis per year. Last year, there were 38 cases of the mosquito-borne disease, including 15 deaths. Read more.
Higher temperatures may increase heart disease mortality risk
In a new study, researchers reported that higher ambient temperatures as observed in Kuwait may be associated with higher CVD mortality. Read more.
Q&A: Air pollution increases risk for age-related macular degeneration
Air pollution is a health hazard, and not only for the lungs. Tunde Peto, MD, MHealthEd, PhD, a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Queen’s University Belfast, discussed a study she co-authored that investigated the association between air pollution and AMD in a large sample of the U.K. population. Read more.
Five ways climate change impacts health — and how clinicians can mitigate its effect
Healio asked physicians and researchers in what ways climate change is having an immediate impact on health. The experts also shared tips on how physicians can address the consequences of climate change. Read more.
Oncologists urged to help fight climate change as it threatens progress against cancer
Climate change is a threat to the progress made toward reducing the global burden of cancer, according to a commentary published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Read more.
EPA. Earth day. https://www.epa.gov/earthday. Accessed April 20, 2021.
EPA. EPA history: Earth Day. https://www.epa.gov/history/epa-history-earth-day. Accessed April 20, 2021.