Climate change threatens health in Northwest | Rock Hill Herald

heraldonline | 9/22/2019 | Staff
dewbydewby (Posted by) Level 4
Around this time last year, news outlets blared alarming headlines: Breathing the air outside was as bad as smoking several cigarettes. Wildfire haze blotted out the sun and turned the moon orange. Weather apps simply listed the forecast as “smoke.”

Just because this summer has been clear, though, doesn’t mean that the environment is doing just fine.

Smoke - Wildfires - Change - Impact - Washington

While smoke from wildfires might be climate change’s most obvious impact in Washington, other threats still loom. Some predicted health effects include heatstroke, dehydration, worsened pollen allergies and increased cancer risk. And while local scientists have a plan to fix it, they say they are concerned that no one is carrying it out.

Meanwhile, climate scientists predict more smoky summers. On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a study that found that during one year, wildfire smoke in Washington state caused 245 deaths, directly and indirectly. The study pegged the costs of those “premature deaths” at $2.2 billion, and $55 million spent dealing with associated illnesses.

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NRDC - Study - Events - States - Attempt

The NRDC study examined climate-change-related events in 10 states in 2012 and was an attempt to put a dollar figure on how climate change is harming people’s health. Researchers arrived at the figures by looking at published, peer-reviewed literature and state and federal agency reports.

Wisconsin, not a state normally associated with being hot, logged 27 deaths from extreme heat in 2012, according to the NRDC study. The state nestled between Minnesota and the Great Lakes suffered through record high temperatures for a week that summer.

Things - Dr - Kristie - Ebi - Professor

“I’m seeing things that I did not think would happen until 2050,” said Dr. Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. “Climate change is coming at us much faster, and the speed of change and how...
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