Experts: Climate change to increase lung disease

By RTCC Staff

Increases in displaced persons, desertification and even longer plant blooming periods endanger respiratory health. (Source: UN)

A group of international researchers have claimed that climate change is responsible for the escalation of a number of lung diseases and respiratory conditions.

The researchers said that increased air pollution, in urban and rural locations, were just one reason why changing weather patterns were affecting human health.

The American Thoracic Society, which has members across the globe issued a position paper to inform its members on its stance with regard to climate change.

The panel of scientists from Europe, Asia, India, Middle East and Africa made a number of recommendations based on their own specialities.

Kent Pinkerton, Co-author of the study and air quality specialist, listed the risks to health from his field of study.

“These include more smoke and particulate matter from more wildfires, which are known to increase in frequency as the climate warms, and the presence of airborne particles from dust storms caused by desertification,” said Pinkerton.

Climate change is also increasing the range of certain airborne diseases that were previously restricted by temperature.

The paper gives the example of a mould spore previously limited to Central America that is now being found as far north as Canada. The spores can increase allergies and asthma. Similarly, infectious disease from the Mediterranean, are now being found in Scandinavia.

Respiratory problems linked to increased wildfires, pollen from extended plant blooms and heightened dust levels from desertification and soil degradation will also increase.

The group also identified more indirect health risks such as increases in infectious disease among displaced populations.

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