Health Experts Call on Americans to Press Leaders on Climate Action
Thursday, October 29, 2020
DENVER -- Thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, many on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, are asking Americans to help them tackle the growing health impacts of a warming planet.
This week more than 4,300 health experts from Colorado and all 50 states published an open letter, urging people to demand elected leaders act on the climate crisis.
Sabrina Pacha, manager for Healthy Air and Water Colorado, said health-care workers are seeing the damage first hand, and pointed to research showing women of color are bearing the brunt of negative reproductive health impacts linked to climate change.
"Because they are so disproportionately exposed to poor air quality and hotter temperatures, these women are experiencing lower birth weights, more still births, and more premature births," Pacha outlined.
Pacha added when the topic of climate change comes up, most Americans think about melting glaciers and polar bears; they don't see it as a health issue.
In addition to increased cases of asthma among children, Pacha noted perfectly healthy adults increasingly are at risk from health impacts exacerbated by climate change, including heart and kidney disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
The letter from health professionals calls for elected officials to prioritize policies to protect health, including speeding up the transition away from climate-polluting fossil fuels, and for the American electorate to hold them accountable.
Pacha explained this year's record-breaking wildfires, which triggered multiple air-quality action days, are among the clearest examples of how warmer and drier conditions can impact health.
"While we may not agree on how we've gotten here, the impacts are real and we need to come to solutions that will mitigate these impacts and protect health for all Coloradans," Pacha contended.
The letter cites the death of a 65-year-old man who had a heart attack after exposure to wildfire smoke as just one example of the growing health impacts of climate change.
The letter is supported by a coalition of 16 national and state-level health and medical organizations, representing medical societies with more than 600,000 members of the nation's doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
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