WIT Press

Global Climate Change, Air Pollution, And Women’s Health


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WIT Press


K. Duncan


Climate change will disturb the Earth’s physical systems (e.g. weather patterns) and ecosystems (e.g. disease vector habitats); these disturbances, in turn, will pose direct and indirect risks to human health. Direct risks involve climatic factors that impinge directly on human biology. Indirect risks do not entail direct causal connections between climatic factors and human biology. The Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change elucidates the potential human health impacts of global climate change at both a population and regional level. The impacts on child health, adult health, and the health of the elderly, however, remain largely unexplored. A paucity of research regarding women’s health is also extant, despite increasing interest in the issue. According to the TAR, climate change is projected to affect such key issues as air quality, food yields and nutrition, water-related infectious diseases, and water supply. Exposure to cooking fuels, access to food, distribution of food within the family, and choice of water sources is often determined by gender. Thus, women’s contributions may, in some cases, make them more vulnerable than their male counterparts to climate change. Moreover, it is anticipated that health care will significantly help people adapt to climate change. Unfortunately, not everyone has adequate health care. In some countries, fewer than 25 % of women visit health-care professionals. Climate change is likely to have a strong, positive (worsening) effect on smog and acidic deposition; climate change is likely to have some effect on suspended particulates. In light of the foregoing, this paper addresses the interrelated and neglected areas of global climate change, air pollution, and women’s health. Keywords: global climate change, air pollution, thermal extremes, women’s health.


global climate change, air pollution, thermal extremes, women’s health.