NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — After extensive research Yale public health experts are raising concerns over Connecticut’s changing climate. Results of a recent study reveal that if conditions are left untreated they could result in serious health consequences.
Yale School of Public Health’s Center on Climate Change and Health studied the past one hundred and twenty four years and found the average annual temperature went up by three to three and a half degrees in Connecticut.
Dr. Laura Bozzi is Director of Programs for the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health. She was involved in the climate study and says that rising temperatures and heat waves can be serious to people’s health, even deadly.
“That particularly affects the elderly, people with existing conditions, the homeless, outdoor workers, people who don’t have access to air conditioning,” says Dr. Bozzi.
“As temperatures increase in the winter time it means that more insects can survive over the winter, earlier springs and so we see more insects that carry diseases,” she adds referring to ticks and mosquitos that can spread virus and disease.
The study found that from 2001 to 2019, of 28 mosquito species found in Connecticut to carry viruses that cause human disease, 10 showed trends of increasing abundance, while three showed trends of decreasing abundance.
Dr. Bozzi also points out that insects can damage agriculture.
Severe weather was also a danger. The study says that from 2010 to 2019, there were nine federal disaster declarations for weather-related events in Connecticut, compared with only 13 in the previous 56 years.
Water in Connecticut is also warmer which can cause vibrio, a dangerous condition in undercooked shellfish.
As for air quality, she says our state has too many ozone alert days and recommends electrifying transit and vehicles affordably.
Poor air quality is a special concern is for young people.
“Children have smaller bodies and they’re outside more active and so that’s certainly a concern in terms of air quality,” says Dr. Bozzi.
The study also points out that climate change disproportionately impacts those with low income, communities of color, immigrant groups, indigenous people, children and pregnant women, older adults, vulnerable occupational groups, people with disabilities and people with preexisting or chronic medical conditions.
The report concludes with recommendations to protect human health in Connecticut. They include monitoring conditions and trends and incorporating climate change into decision making.
Yale scientists are now working with the Governor’s Council on Climate Change as well as towns and cities directly to enact policies to deal with these threatening health issues.