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NH "Double Whammy" State for Health Concerns on Hot Summer Days

Granite Staters living with asthma are among those likely to have a tough time on hot summer days according to a new report. (NIAID)
Granite Staters living with asthma are among those likely to have a tough time on hot summer days according to a new report. (NIAID)
July 14, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. – The dog days of summer are not likely to be kind to asthma and allergy sufferers in the Granite State, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international environmental advocacy group based in New York.

The council's new mapping project pinpoints New Hampshire as the 12th worst state in the nation when it comes to a "double whammy" of factors that cause health concerns during hot summer days.

Kim Knowlton, senior scientist and deputy director of the NRDC's Science Center, says this combination of factors can make breathing and just basic outdoor activity hazardous for more than 100,000 adults and 19,000 children living with asthma.

"There's about 55 percent of the residents of New Hampshire who live in counties that have both ragweed and unhealthy ozone smog days,” she points out. “So climate change is already having effects on people's health and air quality right now."

The new mapping report shows Hillsborough, Rockingham and Coos counties as areas of the state that could be most impacted on hot summer days.

The report notes that less than one-third of U.S. states have developed a plan to address the health impacts of climate change.

Knowlton says that climate change is fueling warmer temperatures that tend to speed up the chemical reaction that makes ozone, which is the first half of the pair of health concerns for residents who live in the most impacted states.

"So, on hot, late summer days, there tend to be higher ozone concentrations,” she explains. “And unfortunately that's the same time of year the ragweed is producing its pollen, and a lot of people are allergic to pollen – so, that's the double whammy."

The report recommends that citizens demand that federal, state and local governments prepare for the health threats of climate change.

In all, the report says 127 million Americans are living in "double whammy" counties. You can take a look at the maps at the NRDC website.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH