Climate Change and Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Early Effects on Our Health in Europe

Front Cover
Sari Kovats
World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, Jan 1, 2000 - Medical - 116 pages
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A balanced assessment, based on currently available scientific knowledge, of the effects that climate change may have on the environment in Europe and the health of its populations. Written in non-technical language, the book responds to growing public and political concern about the consequences of such widely publicized phenomena as global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion. The book also responds to evidence that recent warming trends in Europe have already affected health.

The book opens with a brief explanation of the causes of climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion, followed by an overview of recent European and global initiatives aimed at monitoring trends and assessing their impact on health. The first main chapter, on climate change in Europe, summarizes currently documented trends and provides a scenario of possible changes throughout the rest of this century.

The second, and most extensive chapter, reviews scientific evidence on specific health consequences. These include effects related to increased episodes of thermal stress and air pollution; changes in food-borne, water-related, vector-borne, and rodent-borne diseases; mortality from floods and other weather extremes; and changes in the production of aeroallergens associated with respiratory disorders including asthma.

Chapter three considers health effects linked to stratospheric ozone depletion, giving particular attention to adverse effects on the eye and immune system, and skin cancer. The remaining chapters discuss health effects expected in the next decade, and outline actions urgently needed in the areas of policy monitoring and surveillance and research.

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