Analysts Say US Should Spend $197 Million More on Climate Change's Impact on Public Health

A recent analysis suggests the United States should spend roughly $197 million more than it now does to research the impact of climate change on public health.

The analysis, reported in the form of a commentary, found the U.S. spends about $3 million in federal funds on research related to the health impacts of climate change. But University of Michigan Assistant Professor Marie S. O’Neill, one of the commentary’s co-authors, said that isn’t nearly enough to adequately address public health issues related to global warming.

Climate change is expected to exacerbate a number of public health problems in the United States and elsewhere, including heat-related deaths, diarrheal diseases and diseases associated with exposure to allergens and ozone.

“Even disease distributions are likely to change,” said Professor Mark Wilson, another co-author. “Certain areas of the world could become more favorable for transmission of various infectious diseases that are associated with water, insect vectors or non-human animal reservoirs. The challenge is to identify the critical research questions that will help inform improvements to the public health infrastructure and prepare for changing environments.”

The commentary that included John Balbus of the Environmental Defense Fund, Adjunct Professor Kristie Ebi of the University of Michigan, Associate Professors Patrick Kinney of Columbia University and Erin Lipp of the University of Georgia and David Mills of Stratus Consulting Inc. appears online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

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