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Environmental Health Survey Results

Posted in TCMS Updates

The TCMS Environmental Health Committee recently surveyed Society members on your attitudes and knowledge regarding health effects of climate change. 

Although the response rate was low, useful information emerged. Three-fourths of respondents affirmed that in Minnesota climate change, by extending our warmer wetter seasons and moderating our winters, has affected our health in many ways: the prolonged pollen season has increased the incidence and prevalence of allergic disorders and asthma (also impacted by fossil fuel generated air pollution); increased vector winter survival and expanded vector geographic ranges leading to increases in incidence of vector-borne diseases; documented higher rates of heart and lung disease; and more flood-related outbreaks of water-borne illnesses. 

It was interesting to compare this to similar studies from The American Thoracic Society and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Eighty-five percent of their respondents agreed that climate change has and will have an effect on their patients. Most major health organizations have issued policy statements expressing concern over the health implications of climate change. These include the World Health Organization, the American Public Health Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the AMA, the MMA, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Thoracic Society, Harvard School of Public Health, Kaiser-Permanente, and Cleveland Clinic. Nursing organizations are similarly concerned. 

The Environmental Health Task Force is continuing to explore opportunities for physicians to respond, on a local level, to climate change and its effects on our patients.
In the meantime, we encourage you to look into this issue. Here are some useful resources:
  1. Making the Connection: Climate Changes Health - APHA and ecoAmerica co-sponsor a four-part webinar series investigating the health impacts of climate change. The series explores the connection between climate change and key areas of our health. 
     
  2. Climate Change in Minnesota: Minnesota Climate and Health Profile Report
To learn more, contact Nancy Bauer at TCMS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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