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Updated 25 May 2005

US National Assessment of
the Potential Consequences
of Climate Variability and Change
Sector: Human Health


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The National Assessment Overview and Foundation Reports were produced  by the National Assessment Synthesis Team, an advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and were not subjected to OSTP's Information Quality Act Guidelines. The National Assessment was forwarded to the President and Congress in November 2000 for their consideration.

Publications by the National Assessment Synthesis Team

Links to Material from the Health Assessment Group

Related Articles from the National Assessment's Newsletter, Acclimations.

Issues Covered

The human health sector looked at how climate affects human health in the United States and at how climate change and variability might affect our health. For example, heat waves can cause death and illness, especially among the elderly poor. Air pollution, which is worse in hot weather, can make people with respiratory disease sicker and can make breathing harder for everyone. People can be hurt or even killed in severe storms and floods, or can be made sick by unclean storm water. A change in climate might increase the risk of exposure to disease-carrying rodents and insects.

Assessment Approach

The health sector team analyzed scientific research and government data on and how climate change might affect our health. In addition, the team developed a limited number of quantitative models of projected or possible future health impacts, where reliable data were available. The eleven members of the health sector team came from a range of government, academic, and private institutions, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, the University of South Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Jonathan Patz, Johns Hopkins University
Michael McGeehin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Coordinating Federal Agency United States Environmental Protection Agency
Agency Representative Joel Scheraga, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Project Director Susan Bernard, Johns Hopkins University


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