Climate change set to increase ozone-related deaths over next 60 years

September 27, 2011, European Lung Foundation

Scientists are warning that death rates linked to climate change will increase in several European countries over the next 60 yrs.

A new study, which will be presented today (27 September 2011) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam, predicts that Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal will see the biggest climate-induced increase in ozone-related deaths over the next 60 yrs.

The research is part of the Climate-TRAP project and its health impact assessment lead by Prof Bertil Forsberg from the Umea University in Sweden. The aim is to prepare the health sector for changing public health needs due to climate change.

According to the (WHO), climate change that has occurred since the 1970s caused over 140,000 excess deaths annually by the year 2004. In addition to its impact on clean air, drinking water and , many such as malaria and those which cause diarrhoea are particularly sensitive to climate change.

In this new research, the scientists used emission scenarios and models to assess the health impacts of a . They took projections from two scenarios, A2 and A1B, and two global climate models, ECHAM4 and HADLEY, to simulate how the various future are affected by climate change.

They compared four periods: baseline period (1961); the current situation (1990); nearer future (2012); and further future (2041).

The findings revealed that since 1961, Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands and the UK have seen the biggest impact on ozone-related deaths due to climate change. The results predicted that the biggest increase over the next 50 yrs is likely to be seen in Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, who could expect an increase of between 10 and 14%. However, Nordic and Baltic countries are predicted to see a decrease over the same period.

Dr Hans Orru, expert from the Umea University and University of Tartu in Estonia, explains: "Ozone is a highly oxidative pollutant, linked with hospitalisations and deaths due to problems with the respiratory system. Ground-level ozone formation is due to rise as temperatures increase with climate change. The results of our study have shown the potential effects that can have on ozone levels and how this change will impact upon the health of Europeans."

Professor Marc Decramer, President of the ERS, said: "Outdoor air pollution is the biggest environmental threat in Europe. If we do not act to reduce levels of ozone and other pollutants, we will see increased hospital admissions, extra medication and millions of lost working days. As part of the European Respiratory Roadmap, which was launched last month, the ERS is calling for a collaborative approach between health professionals and policy makers, to protect vulnerable populations from the damaging effects air pollutants can have."

Explore further: Future climate change may increase asthma attacks in children

Related Stories

Future climate change may increase asthma attacks in children

August 30, 2011
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have found that climate change may lead to more asthma-related health problems in children, and more emergency room (ER) visits in the next decade.

Recommended for you

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.