The Chillicothe Gazette reports:
After years on the back burner, climate change is finding its way to the forefront of the public health agenda, including here in Ohio, where advocates say the health effects of global warming can no longer be ignored.
Climate change has been linked to a broad range of health problems, including allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases, according to a 2010 report by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on the human health effects of climate change.
“There have been suggestions that climate change could very well be the public health issue of the century,” said Rosemary Chaudry, member and past president of the Ohio Public Health Association. “We’re really trying to step up and make people aware, to inform, educate and empower the public.”
Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health and environment program in New York City, said the issue has reached a boiling point in public health and health care circles nationwide, and more people are starting to come to the table to discuss what can be done to address it.
“Yes, we’ve been aware of (the health effects of climate change) for years, and yes, the tide is turning,” Knowlton said.
Chaudry acknowledged it can be difficult for people outside the scientific and public health communities to grasp the immediate and local threat of a matter as vast as climate change.
“It can be overwhelming when you think of it in far-reaching, remote and scientific impacts, but when you start to think of it close to home, in your own family and in your own community, it helps to understand why it’s important,” she said.