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UNC School of Public Health Environmental Health in NC Dr. Frederic K. Pfaender School of Public Health University of North Carolina Kathleen M. Gray Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "UNC School of Public Health Environmental Health in NC Dr. Frederic K. Pfaender School of Public Health University of North Carolina Kathleen M. Gray Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNC School of Public Health Environmental Health in NC Dr. Frederic K. Pfaender School of Public Health University of North Carolina Kathleen M. Gray Institute for the Environment University of North Carolina

2 UNC School of Public Health Overview  Discussion of environmental health risk and ranking exercise  Health impacts of climate change  Other environmental health issues in NC  How Healthy Carolinians can respond

3 UNC School of Public Health Environmental Services Environmental Services  Food  Shelter- or materials to make shelters  Drinking water  Places to live  Raw materials of all kinds  Climate and weather- direct and indirect effects

4 UNC School of Public Health Environmental Health Risk  Any factor in environment that causes illness, injury or loss of life  Examples: chemical contaminants, microbes  May result from short- or long-term exposure  Some factors occur naturally, others due to human activity  Let’s rank some common risks!

5 UNC School of Public Health Health and Climate  Effects are direct and mostly indirect  Major drivers are population growth and energy consumption  Health is impacted by much more that just frank disease and toxics  Many of the important factors are not understood  Predictions based on models- be careful

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9 Greenhouse Gas Sources

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14 50% higher death rate for elderly in high heat

15 UNC School of Public Health Bay of Bengal SST and Cholera Dhaka 1994 Source: Colwell et al.

16 UNC School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Course: Global Environment and Health

17 UNC School of Public Health Models do not consider catastrophic weather events

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20 Based on average of 5 models Major changes in NC- most in eastern NC

21 UNC School of Public Health Malaria Risk - 60% maybe at risk by 2050

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23 Hantavirus Story More Rain More plant growth More deer mice More mice in dwellings More human contact with Hantavirus Hantavirus Respiratory Syndrome Epidemic

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25 Recent Evidence of Climate Variability  Previous 100 years most benign weather in last 5,000 years  Since 1995 increases in hurricanes, floods, other catastrophic weather events worldwide.  5 of last ten years have highest temperatures in history- summer 07 hottest ever in NC, floods in Texas and Northeast  2005 hurricane season- devastates Gulf Coast  Large inputs of fresh water to Arctic Oceans from Siberia rivers- slows conveyor belt  Softening of Arctic and Antarctic ice-oops  All happening faster than anyone thought!

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30 Sea Level Rise  Sea level has been rising slowly for last 500 years  There are enough Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now to give 0.5M rise.  Much larger rises predicted for next 100 years  It will impact all of us

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33 30M sea level rise

34 UNC School of Public Health What are the challenges?  How do we prepare for the future - mitigate or adapt? Who decides? How do we decide?  UN - by 2015 climate change costs 15 billion pre year - probably vast underestimate  US not as impacted as most of world  Multi-disciplinary teams to look at causes and effects  Society/environment- decisions

35 UNC School of Public Health Positive Signs  Many countries, even non-Kyoto signers, are adopting CO 2 reduction policy  NAS unequivocal statement that it is real  Bush acknowledges reality  21 US States have energy policy in place to reduce emissions  Alternative energy vehicles becoming hot as are alternative fuels  Biodiesel from Hog Wastes  Ethanol  Increases in solar and wind energy use and research

36 UNC School of Public Health Panasonic Cell Phone Manufacture

37 UNC School of Public Health What can we do right now?  Live a more sustainable life- go do your ecological footprint- then change it!  / / /  Keep pressure on the politicians to be greener  Preparedness for climate change and weather catastrophes  Think and act locally within global context  Figure out how to convince the public that this will impact them and their children forever

38 UNC School of Public Health Suddenly, Bob realizes that he’s “part of the problem.” Individual behavior change

39 UNC School of Public Health Major Environmental Health Issues in NC  Air Quality  Outdoor air  Criteria air pollutants  Hazardous air pollutants  Emissions move, effect may not be at point of emission

40 UNC School of Public Health Major Environmental Health Issues in NC  Air Quality  Indoor air  Environmental tobacco smoke  Carbon monoxide  Radon  Lead  Mold Radon in NC

41 UNC School of Public Health Major Environmental Health Issues in NC  Water Quality and Quantity  Surface  Impairment due to upstream uses and discharges  Fish advisories  Statewide for mercury for women aged 15-44, pregnant/ nursing women and children under 15  Site-specific advisories for dioxins and PCBs

42 UNC School of Public Health Major Environmental Health Issues in NC  Water Quality and Quantity  Groundwater  Drinking water for about 50% of NC  Rapidly being depleted in many areas  Soil is a great filter - many surface contaminants (nutrients, pesticides, microorganisms) removed before they reach groundwater

43 UNC School of Public Health Major Environmental Health Issues in NC  Land Use  Agriculture  Pesticides and fertilizers  Animal wastes  Industry  Toxic chemicals often stored on land  Landfills  Solid waste - over a ton/person/yr, low recycling rates  Source of odors and pollutants  Development  NC population growth rate = 14% per decade  Major source of land use changes and habitat destruction  More time spent indoors - generally poorer air quality  Car-based society – less exercise, related health problems

44 UNC School of Public Health Major Environmental Health Issues in NC  Cross-Boundary Issues  Air and water cross geographic and political boundaries  Downstream water use impacted by upstream discharges  Airborne pollutants have impacts down plume from point of release, mobile sources leave smog in NC  Airborne contaminants can pollute water elsewhere  One person’s quality of life issue is someone else’s economic issue  Most trash goes outside county, potentially decreasing motivation to reduce waste  Disparities  Economic issue - we put waste on cheapest land, poor people live on cheapest land so more exposure

45 UNC School of Public Health What Can Healthy Carolinians Do?  Develop your baseline: identify key environmental health risks in your communities  Determine which populations are at greatest risk and educate/protect them  Focus on preventing exposure  Support adoption of protective policies  Develop targeted educational materials  Seek removal of pollution sources or find other technical solutions


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