To the Editor:
The author of “Global Warming is Impacting Us Now” (Connection, Aug. 7-13, 2014) is right: we’re already seeing impacts of climate change in our communities.
Unfortunately, they’re only the beginning of the consequences that unchecked carbon pollution could bring. Many people think of climate change as an environmental problem, but the fact is, it’s also a public health problem, and everyone has a personal stake in working to stop it.
It’s easy to see why extreme storms are bad for our health in the short-term – we’re at greater risk of injury, our roads may not be accessible to emergency vehicles, and our mental health could deteriorate, just to name a few. But extreme heat is a health risk, too.
In fact, heat is the deadliest weather hazard in the country. In addition to causing heat stroke and cardiovascular and respiratory problems, hotter temperatures also enhance the conditions for dangerous smog to form in our air.
Also, extreme weather events continue to harm our health after the last raindrop has fallen or the heat wave has ended. For example, heavy rainfall and flooding can lead to mold and pest growth inside of homes, potentially causing asthma and allergy symptoms. And healthy children who are regularly exposed to even moderate levels of smog can end up with permanent lung damage.
Why join the climate change debate? Because your health may depend on it. Tell EPA and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality that you want them to set strong limits on carbon pollution that are designed to protect our health.