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Health and environment have always been related issues, but their connection grows clearer as physicians come together to express their concerns here in the US. "Across the country, physicians are noticing an influx of patients whose illnesses, they say, are directly or indirectly related to climate change. Now, 11 medical associations — representing around half the doctors and physicians in the country — are creating a group that intends to address the links between climate change and health risks."
Seeing climate change as one of the greatest public health challenges in our time, these healthcare professionals have come together to form the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, an organization to advocate for climate and health issues among policy makers as well as the general public. These physicians have seen a rise in health issues like Lyme disease, from ticks that have thrived in warmer temperatures. Or exacerbated respiratory effects from smog or wildfires. And of course, the heat strokes and other issues from general temperature extremes. The consortium is also aware of the very gendered impacts these changes have, as women often bear the brunt of negative consequences of climate change, especially with regards to pregnancy and caregiving.
The need for understanding the relationship between health and climate change is essential, especially in the current US political climate, where the EPA and legislation like the Clean Air Act are facing major budget cuts and opposition from administration. "When the Clean Air Act was started and since that time in 1970, the EPA has been required to do a benefit-cost analysis of the CAA. The benefit to cost is about 30-to-1 — so when we talk about reversing some of these regulations, it's to our detriment." It seems clear that we need to be doing more, not less.
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