With reports of heat waves increasing in frequency, intensity and duration worldwide, cities can use information on vulnerable at-risk populations to help coordinate heat emergency plans and identify interventions to reduce the preventable and negative health effects of heat waves.
This information can ultimately be used to design longer-term interventions to lessen vulnerability to heat-related illness, for example by increasing urban green spaces (outdoor areas with an abundance of vegetation).
The study gathered available information on several factors that have been associated with adverse health impacts from heat waves to identify vulnerable populations. These factors included lower education, poverty, being a race other than white, lack of green space, living alone, lack of air conditioning, older age and presence of diabetes. These data were compiled into a national map of county-level heat vulnerability.
This map suggested that heat vulnerability could vary widely across the nation, due primarily to differences in air conditioning prevalence. In urban areas, inner cities were likely to be more vulnerable to heat regardless of the city’s overall vulnerability. These maps would need to be validated by comparison with actual observed outcomes in response to heat.
Studies of heat waves and mortality in the United States have shown that increases in mortality from heat-related causes, cardiovascular causes, respiratory causes, heart attacks and all causes combined occur on days with higher temperatures or extended periods of high temperatures.
Pre-existing health conditions may lead to vulnerability to heat-related illnesses and death in individuals. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease, nervous disorders, emphysema, epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, pulmonary conditions and mental health conditions. However, community-level factors, such as poverty and a lack of ground cover, may also increase vulnerability.
“This study is a novel approach to map vulnerability to a health outcome related to climate change nationally and can be considered a first step towards tools that can help public health professionals prepare climate change adaptation plans for their communities,” wrote first author Colleen Reid and colleagues. “In addition to refinement of this method for heat vulnerability, further studies mapping vulnerability to other projected health impacts of climate change are needed.”
EHP editor-in-chief Hugh A. Tilson, PhD said, “Because heat waves are projected to increase in frequency, duration and intensity in the United States and around the world, it is critical that municipalities at the local level develop effective heat warning systems, emergency planning procedures and interventions that focus on groups that are most vulnerable, like the elderly.”
Other authors of the paper included Marie O’Neill, Carina Gronlund, Shannon Brines, Dan Brown, Ana Diez-Roux and Joel Schwartz. The study was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The article is available free of charge at http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/0900683/0900683.html.
EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. EHP is an Open Access journal. More information is available online at http://www.ehponline.org/. Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing handles marketing and public relations for the publication and is responsible for creation and distribution of this press release.
Julie Hayworth-Perman | Newswise Science News
Further reports about: > Diabetes > Environmental Health > Epilepsy > Heat Blanket > Vulnerability > air conditioning > cardiovascular causes > climate change adaptation > emphysema > environmental risk > green space > heart attacks > heat waves > heat-related causes > mental health conditions > nervous disorders > pulmonary conditions > renal disease > respiratory causes > vascular disease > waves
Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering