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You Are Where You Live: The Interrelationship of Air Pollution, Address, and Walkability

Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives
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Sentinel Symptoms of Climate Change Indicators for Related Health Effects Greenhouse gas emissions are widely acknowledged to be contribut- ing to climate change–related health effects that vary by location, and are expected to continue doing so for many years, even if sub- stantial emission cuts occur. A workgroup of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists has identified a set of indicators that it says will allow national and local officials in the United States to better predict any such changes and consequences and to take appropriate action as it becomes warranted [EHP 117:1673–1681; English et al.]. The team also identified the data needed for track- ing these indicators and ascertained whether the data exist, must be improved, or must be generated. They say this is the first effort to synthesize and evaluate related informa- tion published by many sources. The team determined the best indica- tors of environmental changes due to cli- mate change are quantity of greenhouse gas emissions, air quality (in particular ozone), air mass stagnation events (such as those caused by temperature inver- sions), temperature and humidity, pol- len loads, ragweed occurrence, drought incidence, drinking water scarcity, and occurrence of wildfires and harmful algal blooms. Data for some of these indicators are strong and/or expected to improve soon, as in the case of greenhouse gases, temperature, air mass stagnation events, and drought. Data on other indicators, such as pollen, harmful algal blooms, and ozone, require substantial improvement. For indicators of human death and illness, the authors recommend tracking excess numbers of each that can be attributed to events related to climate change. Doing so will require significant improvements in existing data and methods, such as more comprehensive report- ing of emergency room visits and hospitalizations related to heat waves, floods, and other extreme weather events. For infectious diseases, the targeted

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