Congressman Pallone & Public Health and Environment Advocates Hold Earth Day Event Highlighting Health Impacts of Climate Change
New Brunswick— Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) held a roundtable discussion with health care providers and environmental advocates titled, “How Climate Change Impacts Our Health” at the Chandler Health Center in New Brunswick to raise awareness of the potential effects of climate change on public health in New Jersey. The roundtable comes less than a month after President Trump signed an Executive Order that will seriously undermine our efforts to combat climate change.
“Earth Day 2017 provides an important opportunity to raise awareness of the consequences of President Trump’s executive action abandoning meaningful progress on climate,” said Congressman Pallone. “Left unchecked, climate change will continue to harm the health and safety of our communities. Seasonal changes, higher temperatures, droughts and severe storms are leading to more heat-related illness and death, increased asthma attacks, and more severe allergies. The scientific evidence is clear, climate change endangers human health. This problem demands immediate action, not denial and delay. “
Given the numerous impacts of climate change on health, the American Public Health Association declared 2017 as the Year of Climate Change and Health. The health harms of climate change also led 11 medical societies, representing more than half of our nation’s doctors, to come together to form the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. They recently released a report titled: Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health.
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order to begin the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan, which had established emission guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to control carbon pollution from existing power plants. While the Trump administration has not yet officially decided whether to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement, by rolling back the policies needed to meet American commitments, many experts fear the United States has already effectively withdrawn. The Trump Administration has also proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by a whopping 31%, while reducing the agency’s workforce by 20%.
“We can’t afford to ignore the health risks of climate change,” said New Jersey Hospital Association President and CEO Betsy Ryan. “Rising temperatures and deteriorating air quality have a very real impact on those who suffer from chronic conditions such as asthma or cardiovascular disease. And the threats posed by extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods not only endanger lives but take a serious toll on our emotional and behavioral health.”
"The New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is pleased to advise Congressman Pallone and other decision-makers on opportunities to address health impacts of climate change and appreciate the opportunity to present the important outcomes of the Alliance's Climate Change and Public Health Workgroup as part of the discussion with the Congressman," said Jeanne Herb, co-facilitator of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance and an affiliate of the Rutgers Climate Institute.
"Climate change is a clear and present danger to our public health," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. "The Trump Administration's rollbacks to climate protections willfully ignores climate science and puts more New Jersey residents at risk for harmful air pollution. Higher temperatures will mean more ozone alerts days across the state -- and more of our residents headed to the emergency room. The Trump Administration's climate rollbacks are a slow-moving disaster for our public health."
“The only science President Trump believes in in science fiction. He has the fictional idea that climate change is not real and not happening. It’s a dangerous delusion that puts our communities and families at risk. By rolling back climate change protections, we will suffer from more air pollution that affects our health and lungs. When you eliminate clean air protections, our air becomes poisoned. When you allow coal mines to dump toxic waste into our rivers, they get poisoned. When you cut programs for lead, children get poisoned. There are real consequences to climate change and they can’t be ignored,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We need to stand up to the Fossil Fuel in the White House and protect our environment, our health, and our planet.”
The Eric B. Chandler Health Center is a comprehensive, family-oriented community health center, jointly operated by the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Eric B. Chandler Community Board, Inc. Primary care services available at Chandler include: family medicine; internal medicine; infectious disease (HIV counseling, testing, and treatment); pediatrics (including EPSDT and child well-care); obstetrics and gynecology; podiatry; family planning; and dentistry (including preventive, restoration, and curative). Other services of the center include social services, community outreach, nutrition, and health education.
Attendees at the roundtable included Elizabeth Ryan, New Jersey Hospital Association; Kevin McNally, New Jersey Public Health Association; Doug O'Malley, Environment New Jersey; Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club; Dr. Richard Marlink, Rutgers Global Health Institute ; Jillian Hudspeth, New Jersey Primary Care Association ; Junior Romero, Food and Water Watch; Jeanne Herb, Rutgers Environmental Analysis and Communications Group; Dr. Jeffrey Bienstock, American Academy of Pediatrics-NJ Chapter; Mary Coogan, Advocates for Children of New Jersey; Robert Laumbach M.D., M.P.H., C.I.H., Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rutgers School of Public Health; Dr. Eric Jahn , Chandler Health Center and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.