Environmental Health and Climate Change Research in Canada
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Wellington Building, 180 Wellington Street Ottawa
This event is by Invitation only.
Across Canada we have seen a definite change in climate events—an increase in prolonged heat waves, torrential rainstorms, wind storms and even drought. There are health hazards associated with direct exposure to these changes in weather patterns and Canadians are at risk of adverse health outcomes from the impacts of climate change. This includes:
- Increased incidence of heat-related illnesses and respiratory and cardiovascular disorders due to increasing temperatures and reduced air quality
- Increased risk of transmitted diseases by insects and other vectors due to rising summer temperatures, shorter winters, and faster maturation cycles for pathogens (i.e., West Nile virus, Lyme disease)
- Aggravated allergy symptoms and respiratory conditions due to increased pollen and spore production with longer summers and shorter winters
- Increased risk of injury, illness or loss of life due to damage and weakening of infrastructure as a result of extreme weather events (i.e., flooding, ice and wind storms)
THEME 1: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, CLIMATE CHANGE AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Changes in temperature, rainfall and humidity levels allow “vectors” – agents such as mosquitoes, ticks, rodents and bats, which carry and transmit infectious pathogens — to multiply or migrate to new areas to survive, bringing infectious diseases with them. In recent years, vector-borne diseases such as West Nile and Lyme disease have spiked, spreading to new regions, and there has been an increased emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases globally over the past 10 years. Such changes are likely a major consequence of climate change. Research that deepens our understanding of the relationships between climate change and infectious diseases and that contributes towards the development of tools, systems and interventions so that we can prevent, predict, mitigate and manage related infectious disease outbreaks will be presented here.
THEME 2: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESPIRATORY HEALTH
Accelerating climate change poses a particular threat to people living with chronic disease, including respiratory issues like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergies, emphysema, and lung cancer. Some effects are inevitable and persons living with respiratory disease and their caretakers will need to adapt to a changing climate. Climate change factors affecting respiratory illness include more extreme weather events, more wildfires, higher levels of allergens, increased insect and water-borne diseases, and higher levels of air pollution. Research addressing increased incidence of heat-related illnesses and respiratory and cardiovascular disorders due to increasing temperatures and reduced air quality will be presented along with research focused on aggravated allergy symptoms and respiratory conditions due to increased pollen and spore production with longer summers and shorter winters.
THEME 3: THE INDIRECT HEALTH IMPACTS OF CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
Climate change threatens the health of hundreds of millions of people. While much has been written about the direct impacts of climate change on health as a result of more severe storms, more intense heat stress, changes in the distribution of infectious disease, and reduced air quality, the indirect impacts of a disrupted climate system (causing water scarcity, diminishing food supply and population displacement), may be more important in terms of the human suffering they cause. Because these indirect effects will result from changes in biophysical systems, which are inherently complex, there is significant uncertainty about their magnitude, timing, and location.
Thank you to our Sponsors
Innovative Medicines Canada is the national voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. We advocate for policies that enable the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of all Canadians. We support our members’ commitment to being valued partners in the Canadian healthcare system.