From heat stroke to more frequent outbreaks of infectious disease, climate change is expected to have a profound impact on human health. Heavier rainfall and flooding, for example, can wash more pathogens into water supplies – leading to illness. In addition, increased air pollution – already a concern in many urban areas – can exacerbate allergies and asthma.

Child's toy and stethoscope

Pediatrician Leonardo Trasande of the NYU School of Medicine says the smallest among us may face the largest risk.

TRASANDE: “Children are uniquely vulnerable to many common exposures in the environment. Pound for pound, they breathe in more air, they eat more food, and drink more water. And so they have higher exposures to many common factors in the environment. Their organ systems are also more susceptible because they’re actively developing.”

Out of concern for children’s health, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement about climate change.

It says, quote, “Pediatric healthcare professionals should understand these threats, anticipate their effects on children’s health, and participate as children’s advocates for strong mitigation and adaptation strategies now.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Global Climate Change and Children’s Health
Climate Change and the Health of Children

Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...