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WAO Medical Book Reviews

Posted: March 17, 2016

Global Climate Change and Public Health
Edited by: Kent E. Pinkerton, William N. Rom
ISBN 978-1-4614-8416-5
eISBN 978-1-4614-8417-2|
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-8417-2

$159.00 USD / €144.48 EUR (eBook)
$209.00 USD / €189.91 EUR (Hardcover)
Available from: Springer

Ivy Shiue, PhD
Department of Healthcare
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne
England, United Kingdom

Global Climate Change and Public Health is a book that helps to define – the what, the when, the where and the why of – climate change as well as the impact it is having on global public health. All of these ideas are explained in a reader-friendly manner in this book authored by the co-chairs of the 2010 American Thoracic Society’s “Climate Change and Respiratory health Workshop”. While Drs Pinkerton and Rom are United States experts in this area of public health, respiratory, and environmental medicine, they have brought together worldwide experts to provide the reader with an in-depth look at the impact of climate change on health. 

The first chapter starts with a discussion of the anthropogenic sources that are leading to global recordings of increased greenhouse gases and temperature, and the impact that this is having on global climate change.  The worldwide effect on our cities of elevated surface temperature causing an increase in ground level ozone is discussed alongside the damage to our forests due to water stress.

One chapter emphasizes how the elevated temperature will have a disproportionate effect on the very young, the elderly, the economically disadvantaged, and those with respiratory and cardiovascular disease. The author explains that this will likely result in major health concerns, including an increased utilization of health care delivery, preterm delivery, morbidity, and mortality. The interaction of indoor and outdoor air pollution, changes in pollen production, increased particulate matter exposure, and worsening or even the de novo development of respiratory disease is emphasized.

Individual chapters review the effect on allergic disease including asthma and allergic rhinitis; vector-borne disease; dengue fever; and COPD.  Likewise, other chapters highlight the effect of global warming on selected global countries/regions such as The Caribbean, Turkey and the Middle East, and India.  Experts from these regions discuss the unique climate-related health and economic issues they are facing and potential solutions.

The last few chapters focus on US public health policy change, federal programs in climate change and health research, and the activities of the Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

This book should be valuable to all respiratory physicians, allergists, public health, and environmental specialists as well as public policy advocates and governmental agencies. It provides the background with which allergists can help to develop public health advocacy position statements and to bring about much needed policy change throughout the world.