231432 Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Adaptation Strategies Among Vulnerable Communities in Metropolitan New York

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Kim Knowlton, DrPH , Health & Environment Program, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), New York, NY
The New York City metropolitan region is home to air-pollution vulnerable communities. Climate change effects on ground-level ozone concentrations have been projected to the 2020s and 2050s for this region. Regional climate change is projected to increase ground-level ozone smog concentrations by 4.5% by the 2050s, absent controls on precursor emissions, which would increase ozone-related premature mortality and morbidity. An emerging line of evidence links rising carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures to increasing allergenic plant pollen production. Observed effects of climate change already include earlier onset of spring pollen in several North American species, raising concerns about a prolonged allergy season. The combined effects of climate change on these air pollutants could put millions at increased risk of harmful health effects. Interactions between ozone, diesel exhaust particulate, and pollen could increase health risks in some of the most vulnerable communities, resulting in or exacerbating health disparities. Local vulnerability assessments are needed to help identify communities where health preparedness education and outreach should be targeted. Besides new regulations to reduce health-harming emissions, and enforcement of existing air quality regulations, improved public and practitioner education on the potential synergies between exposures can help reduce climate-health vulnerabilities.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain one projected effect of climate change on each of these air pollutants: (1) ragweed pollen; and (2) ground-level ozone smog. 2. Identify two strategies that can help improve climate-health preparedness in communities vulnerable to air pollution.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have published research on the health impacts of climate change, including its effects on air pollution, climate-health impacts on vulnerable communities, and strategies for adaptation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.