Climate change is hazardous to children’s health. Heatwaves degrade air quality, exacerbating symptoms of asthma, one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses. Heavy rains and flooding can contaminate public water supplies with bacteria to which children are especially susceptible. Warmer average temperatures allow insect populations to multiply, and with them the incidence of insect-borne diseases like West Nile Virus. Here in Ohio, children are already being hurt by climate change, and the harm is projected to get worse.
In Ohio and throughout the Midwest, we will continue to experience hotter and more frequent heatwaves, heavier rains, declining air quality, increased flooding, and changes to our ecosystem that encourage the spread of disease. The results, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Midwest climate assessment, will include “substantial, yet avoidable, loss of life and worsened health conditions.” Children are especially at risk. Negative health impacts can permanently affect their rapidly developing bodies.
This report explores the impacts already being felt here in Ohio, what we can expect in the future if we fail to fully address climate change, and policy solutions that Ohio decision-makers can implement right here and now to prevent the worst health impacts of climate change.