Special Issue "Climate change and Public Health: Emerging Knowledge on Impacts and Vulnerabilities"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Shao Lin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University at Albany, State University of New York, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Rensselaer, New York
Interests: climate change, extreme weather, and air pollution on human health; disaster epidemiology and public health; school environmental factors and children’s health, attendance, and performance; environmental exposures and childhood asthma; occupational and environmental risk factors on birth defects and other birth outcomes; global health research; air pollution and traffic exposures on asthma; evaluation of environmental policy’s impacts on human health; heavy metal exposures and birth outcomes; fish consumption and heavy metal exposures
Prof. Patrick L. Kinney
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, Boston, Massachusetts
Interests: air pollution epidemiology; climate change; temperature; pollen; wildfires; health impact assessment; future projections; exposure assessment; low-cost sensors
Dr. Guanghui Dong
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
Interests: environmental epidemiology; indoor and outdoor air pollution; environmental toxicology; environmental contaminants on adults’ and children’s health; exposure assessment; environmental health; greenness coverage’s effect on blood lipids and diabetes; and human health impacts of emergent contaminants, including PM10, PM2.5, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and traditional or new types of persistent organic pollutant (POPs) in ambient air particles.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change has led to increased greenhouse gas emissions and more frequent and intense extreme weather, which has been found to increase the risk of multiple health outcomes and cause public health concern.

Dr. Lin, the Guest Editor from University at Albany, State University of New York, USA, Dr. Kinney, the Co-Guest Editor from Boston University, USA, and Dr. Dong, the Co-Guest Editor from Sun Yat-sen University, China, on behalf of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, are pleased to announce a Special Issue on Climate change and Public Health: Emerging Knowledge on Impacts and Vulnerabilities, to be published in the Summer of 2019. We invite high quality research submissions covering a broad range of climate change, air pollution, extreme weather, and related health outcomes.

Submission topics may include, but are not limit to, the following:

  • Human health impacts from extreme weather or extreme weather events on physical and mental health outcomes.
  • Vector-borne diseases or infectious disease risks from changing climate or extreme weather/events, especially studies on climate-sensitive vector-borne or infectious diseases.
  • Outdoor/ indoor air pollution or aeroallergens levels on human health.
  • Individual or community vulnerabilities to climate change’s impact on health.
  • Public health benefits or impacts of policies on air pollutants mitigation or programs to adapt to climate change.
  • Innovative or specific methodologies or prediction models in climate–health research.

Prof. Shao Lin
Prof. Patrick L. Kinney
Dr. Guanghui Dong
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Human health
  • Extreme weather
  • Air pollution
  • Vulnerability
  • Impacts of environmental policies
  • Climate–health methodologies

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Heatwave Events and Mortality Outcomes in Memphis, Tennessee: Testing Effect Modification by Socioeconomic Status and Urbanicity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224568 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Heatwave studies typically estimate heat-related mortality and morbidity risks at the city level; few have addressed the heterogeneous risks by socioeconomic status (SES) and location within a city. This study aimed to examine the impacts of heatwaves on mortality outcomes in Memphis, Tennessee, [...] Read more.
Heatwave studies typically estimate heat-related mortality and morbidity risks at the city level; few have addressed the heterogeneous risks by socioeconomic status (SES) and location within a city. This study aimed to examine the impacts of heatwaves on mortality outcomes in Memphis, Tennessee, a Mid-South metropolitan area top-ranked in morbidity and poverty rates, and to investigate the effects of SES and urbanicity. Mortality data were retrieved from the death records in 2008–2017, and temperature data from the Applied Climate Information System. Heatwave days were defined based on four temperature metrics. Heatwave effects on daily total-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality were evaluated using Poisson regression, accounting for temporal trends, sociodemographic factors, urbanicity, and air pollution. We found higher cardiovascular mortality risk (cumulative RR (relative risk) = 1.25, 95% CI (confidence interval): 1.01–1.55) in heatwave days defined as those with maximum daily temperature >95th percentile for more than two consecutive days. The effects of heatwaves on mortality did not differ by SES, race, or urbanicity. The findings of this study provided evidence to support future heatwave planning and studies of heatwave and health impacts at a coarser geographic resolution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Future Heat Waves in Different European Capitals Based on Climate Change Indicators
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3959; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203959 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Changes in the frequency and intensity of heat waves have shown substantial negative impacts on public health. At the same time, climate change towards increasing air temperatures throughout Europe will foster such extreme events, leading to the population being more exposed to them [...] Read more.
Changes in the frequency and intensity of heat waves have shown substantial negative impacts on public health. At the same time, climate change towards increasing air temperatures throughout Europe will foster such extreme events, leading to the population being more exposed to them and societies becoming more vulnerable. Based on two climate change scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 and 8.5) we analysed the frequency and intensity of heat waves for three capital cities in Europe representing a North–South transect (London, Luxembourg, Rome). We used indices proposed by the Expert Team on Sector-Specific Climate Indices of the World Meteorological Organization to analyze the number of heat waves, the number of days that contribute to heat waves, the length of the longest heat waves, as well as the mean temperature during heat waves. The threshold for the definition of heat waves is calculated based on a reference period of 30 years for each of the three cities, allowing for a direct comparison of the projected changes between the cities. Changes in the projected air temperature between a reference period (1971–2000) and three future periods (2001–2030 near future, 2031–2060 middle future, and 2061–2090 far future) are statistically significant for all three cities and both emission scenarios. Considerable similarities could be identified for the different heat wave indices. This directly affects the risk of the exposed population and might also negatively influence food security and water supply. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toward an Integrated Model for Soft-Mobility
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3669; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193669 - 29 Sep 2019
Abstract
A key urban design challenge is to create built environments that encourage outdoor activity all year round. This study explores a new model for soft-mobility that places the interaction between the urban form, the seasonal climate and climate change, and the individual at [...] Read more.
A key urban design challenge is to create built environments that encourage outdoor activity all year round. This study explores a new model for soft-mobility that places the interaction between the urban form, the seasonal climate and climate change, and the individual at the center of people’s soft-mobility choices, or in more general, their modal choice. The research methods used were comparative studies of documents, surveys, mental mapping, and photo elicitation. These studies were undertaken to research people’s outdoor activity in the built environment during the winter season of a cold climate settlement. The results were analyzed against the three-dimensions of the model. In the discussion it is argued that in places with significant climate variation, the interaction between the urban form, the season, and the individual together influence soft-mobility choices. In turn, these interactions influence people’s level of outdoor activity and the individual health benefits such activity can afford. In conclusion, it is highlighted that all three dimensions of the model are in a constant state of change and evolution, especially in relation to planning and development processes and climate change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Particulate Matter on Outdoor Activity and Mental Health: A Matching Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2983; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162983 - 19 Aug 2019
Abstract
Exposure to air pollution affects human activity and health. Particularly, in Asian countries, the influence of particulate matter on humans has received wide attention. However, there is still a lack of research about the effects of particulate matter on human outdoor activities and [...] Read more.
Exposure to air pollution affects human activity and health. Particularly, in Asian countries, the influence of particulate matter on humans has received wide attention. However, there is still a lack of research about the effects of particulate matter on human outdoor activities and mental health. Therefore, we aimed to explore the association between exposure to particulate matter with a diameter of less than 10 µm (PM10) and outdoor activity along with mental health in South Korea where issues caused by particulate matter increasingly have social and economic impacts. We examined this relationship by combining the physical and habitual factors of approximately 100,000 people in 2015 from the Korean National Health Survey. To measure each individual’s exposure to particulate matter, we computed the total hours exposed to a high PM10 concentration (>80 μg/m3) in a given district one month before the survey was conducted. After dividing all districts into six groups according to the exposed level of the high PM10, we applied the propensity score-weighting method to control for observable background characteristics. We then estimated the impact of the high PM10 on outdoor activity and mental health between the weighted individuals in each group. Our main findings suggest that the impact of PM10 on outdoor activity and stress shows an inverted-U shaped function, which is counterintuitive. Specifically, both outdoor activity and stress levels tend to be worsened when the exposure time to a high PM10 (>80 μg/m3) was more than 20 h. Related policy implications are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Building a Practice-Based Research Agenda for Wildfire Smoke and Health: A Report of the 2018 Washington Wildfire Smoke Risk Communication Stakeholder Synthesis Symposium
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2398; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132398 - 06 Jul 2019
Abstract
Background: As climate change is expected to result in more frequent, larger fires and associated smoke impacts, creating and sustaining wildfire smoke-resilient communities is an urgent public health priority. Following two summers of persistent and extreme wildfire smoke events in Washington state, [...] Read more.
Background: As climate change is expected to result in more frequent, larger fires and associated smoke impacts, creating and sustaining wildfire smoke-resilient communities is an urgent public health priority. Following two summers of persistent and extreme wildfire smoke events in Washington state, the need for additional research on wildfire smoke health impacts, risk communication, and risk reduction, and an associated greater coordination between researcher and practitioner communities, is of paramount importance. Objectives: On 30 October 2018, the University of Washington hosted a Wildfire Smoke Risk Communication Stakeholder Synthesis Symposium in Seattle, Washington. The goals of the symposium were to identify and prioritize practice-based information gaps necessary to promote effective wildfire smoke risk communication and risk reduction across Washington state, foster collaboration among practitioners and academics to address information gaps using research, and provide regional stakeholders with access to the best available health and climate science about current and future wildfire risks. Methods: Seventy-six Washington state practitioners and academics with relevant professional responsibilities or expertise in wildfire smoke and health engaged in small group discussions using the “World Café Method” to identify practice-relevant research needs related to wildfire smoke and health. Notes from each discussion were coded and qualitatively analyzed using a content analysis approach. Discussion: Washington state’s public health and air quality practitioners need additional evidence to communicate and reduce wildfire smoke risk. Exposure, health risk, risk communication, behavior change and interventions, and legal and policy research needs were identified, along with the need to develop research infrastructure to support wildfire smoke and health science. Practice-relevant, collaborative research should be prioritized to address this increasing health threat. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Extremely Hot Days on Emergency Department Visits for Cardiovascular Disease among Older Adults in New York State
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122119 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Prior studies have reported the impact of ambient heat exposure on heat-related illnesses and mortality in summer, but few have assessed its effect on cardiovascular diseases (CVD) morbidity, and the association difference by demographics and season. This study examined how extremely hot days [...] Read more.
Prior studies have reported the impact of ambient heat exposure on heat-related illnesses and mortality in summer, but few have assessed its effect on cardiovascular diseases (CVD) morbidity, and the association difference by demographics and season. This study examined how extremely hot days affected CVD-related emergency department (ED) visits among older adults from 2005–2013 in New York State. A time-stratified case-crossover design was used to assess the heat–CVD association in summer and transitional months (April–May and September–October). Daily mean temperature >95th percentile of regional monthly mean temperature was defined as an extremely hot day. Extremely hot days were found to be significantly associated with increased risk of CVD-related ED visits at lag day 5 (OR: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01–1.04) and lag day 6 (OR: 1.01, 95% CI: 1.00–1.03) among older adults in summer after controlling for PM2.5 concentration, relative humidity, and barometric pressure. Specifically, there was a 7% increased risk of ischemic heart disease on the day of extreme heat, and increased risks of hypertension (4%) and cardiac dysrhythmias (6%) occurred on lag days 5 and 6, respectively. We also observed large geographic variations in the heat–CVD associations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Mortality Response to Absolute and Relative Temperature Extremes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091493 - 27 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
While the impact of absolute extreme temperatures on human health has been amply studied, far less attention has been given to relative temperature extremes, that is, events that are highly unusual for the time of year but not necessarily extreme relative to a [...] Read more.
While the impact of absolute extreme temperatures on human health has been amply studied, far less attention has been given to relative temperature extremes, that is, events that are highly unusual for the time of year but not necessarily extreme relative to a location’s overall climate. In this research, we use a recently defined extreme temperature event metric to define absolute extreme heat events (EHE) and extreme cold events (ECE) using absolute thresholds, and relative extreme heat events (REHE) and relative extreme cold events (RECE) using relative thresholds. All-cause mortality outcomes using a distributed lag nonlinear model are evaluated for the largest 51 metropolitan areas in the US for the period 1975–2010. Both the immediate impacts and the cumulative 20-day impacts are assessed for each of the extreme temperature event types. The 51 metropolitan areas were then grouped into 8 regions for meta-analysis. For heat events, the greatest mortality increases occur with a 0-day lag, with the subsequent days showing below-expected mortality (harvesting) that decreases the overall cumulative impact. For EHE, increases in mortality are still statistically significant when examined over 20 days. For REHE, it appears as though the day-0 increase in mortality is short-term displacement. For cold events, both relative and absolute, there is little mortality increase on day 0, but the impacts increase on subsequent days. Cumulative impacts are statistically significant at more than half of the stations for both ECE and RECE. The response to absolute ECE is strongest, but is also significant when using RECE across several southern locations, suggesting that there may be a lack of acclimatization, increasing mortality in relative cold events both early and late in winter. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Distribution of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Guangdong Province, China and Potential Predictors, 2009–2012
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071191 - 03 Apr 2019
Abstract
Background: Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common infectious disease among children. Guangdong Province is one of the most severely affected provinces in south China. This study aims to identify the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics and potential predictors of HFMD in [...] Read more.
Background: Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common infectious disease among children. Guangdong Province is one of the most severely affected provinces in south China. This study aims to identify the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics and potential predictors of HFMD in Guangdong Province and provide a theoretical basis for the disease control and prevention. Methods: Case-based HFMD surveillance data from 2009 to 2012 was obtained from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). The Bayesian spatiotemporal model was used to evaluate the spatiotemporal variations of HFMD and identify the potential association with meteorological and socioeconomic factors. Results: Spatially, areas with higher relative risk (RR) of HFMD tended to be clustered around the Pearl River Delta region (the mid-east of the province). Temporally, we observed that the risk of HFMD peaked from April to July and October to December each year and detected an upward trend between 2009 and 2012. There was positive nonlinear enhancement between spatial and temporal effects, and the distribution of relative risk in space was not fixed, which had an irregular fluctuating trend in each month. The risk of HFMD was significantly associated with monthly average relative humidity (RR: 1.015, 95% CI: 1.006–1.024), monthly average temperature (RR: 1.045, 95% CI: 1.021–1.069), and monthly average rainfall (RR: 1.004, 95% CI: 1.001–1.008), but not significantly associated with average GDP. Conclusions: The risk of HFMD in Guangdong showed significant spatiotemporal heterogeneity. There was spatiotemporal interaction in the relative risk of HFMD. Adding a spatiotemporal interaction term could well explain the change of spatial effect with time, thus increasing the goodness of fit of the model. Meteorological factors, such as monthly average relative humidity, monthly average temperature, and monthly average rainfall, might be the driving factors of HFMD. Full article
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