Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 12:25 pm | Fair 75º

 
 
 
 

Capps Introduces Bill to Improve Public Health Preparedness for Climate Change

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, joined by Reps. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Doris Matsui of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, on Friday introduced legislation to improve the nation’s public health response to climate change.

The Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act would address the negative health effects related to climate change by supporting research, surveillance, planning, and interagency coordination to develop national plan for action.

The bill was first introduced in the 110th Congress and was incorporated into the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House of Representatives in 2009, but did not become law.

“One of the most troubling and immediate impacts of climate change is its harmful effects on public health,” Capps said. “Regardless of what one believes about its causes, climate change is very real. The heat waves, droughts, wildfires and extreme weather events that are happening with greater frequency and intensity have a profound impact on public health that we’re only beginning to understand. We have to provide our public health officials with the tools and resources they need to effectively track and prepare for these significant public health challenges.”

Climate change is a concern for public health agencies and is considered to be a significant factor in recent increases in allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses; emerging tropical diseases; life-threatening temperatures; and drought and food shortages. While public health officials recognize the negative impacts of climate change, few have adequate resources to address the problem, according to a national survey conducted in 2008 by Environmental Defense Fund, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and George Mason University.

“Public health officials play a pivotal role in addressing the unique health challenges of climate change in communities across the country; however, too many health departments lack the resources to do so,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The bill introduced today would enhance their capacity and send a true lifeline to populations most vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, including people living in poverty, the elderly and young children. We are grateful to Rep. Capps for her leadership on this urgently needed public health issue.”

“The American Lung Association is proud to support Representative Lois Capps’ Climate Change Health Promotion and Protection Act,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president of advocacy and education for the American Lung Association. “There is no denying that climate change is a serious threat to human health. Higher temperatures will make it harder for the nation to clean up ozone and particulate matter, which is bad news for anyone with lung disease, the very young or old and those who work or spend significant time outdoors. Elevated levels of smog and soot mean more childhood asthma attacks.”

Capps’ legislation would help improve the public health response to the challenges posed by climate change by directing the secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a National Strategic Action Plan to assist health professionals in preparing for and responding to the public health effects of climate change.

It would also authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the health effects of climate change and health implications of potential greenhouse gas reduction strategies, as well as bolster climate change preparedness planning around the country. This includes:

» Providing technical support to state and local health departments to develop preparedness plans and conduct community outreach.

» Developing training programs for public health professionals on the health risks and interventions related to climate change.

» Enhancing domestic and international tracking capacity for infectious diseases and environmental health indicators.

» Developing a coordinated research and preparedness agenda on climate and health.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >