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Chapter 9

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Geography 2430A/B
Michael Buzzelli

Geography 2430A: Public Health and the Environment Chapter #9: Health Impacts of Global Environment Change Stratospheric Ozone Depletion  Of the radiation that does get through to the earth’s surface there is evidence that it can cause skin cancers and eye disease (cataracts)  The rest of the section is about the science behind the ozone depletion, nothing really health related, so highly doubtful we need to know anything from it Ozone Depletion and skin cancer  Cumulative lifetime exposure to sunlight seems to be a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in particular, while adult risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is considered to be related to sun exposure in childhood and adolescence  Those working outdoors, in farming and fishing, are at risk, with cancers on exposed body areas, such as the head and neck  The incidence of malignant melanoma (MM) is quite high in Australia and New Zealand, where considerable proportions of the population have fair skin  Within New Zealand, it has been reported that higher incidences and mortalities have been found with increasing proximity to the equator  There is class and gender differences with mortality rates due to skin cancers, where high class has mortality rates of 170 (vacationing) and lower classes have 55, women get it more than men  The lag between exposure and disease, coupled with an aging population, will lead to increases in all types of skin cancer until at least 2050 Other health impacts of ozone depletion  Possible impacts on eye disorders, particularly damage to the lens (increasing opaqueness or cataracts)  A doubling in UVB exposure over the lifetime is associated with a 60% increase in the risk of this cataract (even after adjusting for other possible risk factors)  Some evidence suggests that UVB radiation affects the development of immunity to natural infections (could impair human response to immunization with live virus vaccines, stimulate the replication of AIDS, can reactivate HSV) Global Climate Change  Over the next century, we will see an exponential increase in a new class of human beings: environmental refugees  Those people in the coastal areas, and the poor and marginalized who will feel the wrath of climate change so much more than, say, North Americans Direct effects: thermal stress  While mortality is high during extreme cold, it improves as the temperature rises  But, as temperature rises above the comfort level there is an estimated 1.4% increase in mortality  In NYC, deaths from all causes rise sharply if the temperature is higher than 33˚C  It appears that respiratory disease is relatively sensitive to changes in temperature  Where the climate is warm all year round, mortality will increase, but for cities in colder climates modest inc
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