Climate CHIP Publications

Climate change threats to population health and well-being: the imperative of protective solutions that will last

Authors: 
Kjellstrom T, McMichael AJ
Year: 
2013

The observational evidence of the impacts of climate conditions on human health is accumulating. A variety of direct, indirect, and systemically mediated health effects have been identified. Excessive daily heat exposures create direct effects, such as heat stroke (and possibly death), reduce work productivity, and interfere with daily household activities. Extreme weather events, including storms, floods, and droughts, create direct injury risks and follow-on outbreaks of infectious diseases, lack of nutrition, and mental stress. Climate change will increase these direct health effects.

Working in Australia’s heat: health promotion concerns for health and productivity

Authors: 
Singh S, Hanna L, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2013

This exploratory study describes the experiences arising from exposure to extreme summer heat, and the related health protection and promotion issues for working people in Australia. Twenty key informants representing different industry types and occupational groups or activities in Australia provided semi-structured interviews concerning: (i) perceptions of workplace heat exposure in the industry they represented, (ii) reported impacts on health and productivity, as well as (iii) actions taken to reduce exposure or effects of environmental heat exposure.

Energy and human health

Authors: 
Kirk R. Smith, Howard Frumkin, Kalpana Balakrishnan, Colin D. Butler, Zoë A. Chafe, Ian Fairlie, Patrick Kinney, Tord Kjellstrom, Denise L. Mauzerall, Thomas E. McKone, Anthony J. McMichael, Mycle Schneider
Year: 
2013

Energy use is central to human society and provides many health benefits. But each source of energy entails some health risks. This article reviews the health impacts of each major source of energy, focusing on those with major implications for the burden of disease globally. The biggest health impacts accrue to the harvesting and burning of solid fuels, coal and biomass, mainly in the form of occupational health risks and household and general ambient air pollution. Lack of access to clean fuels and electricity in the world's poor households is a particularly serious risk for health.

Sustainability challenges from climate change and air conditioning use in urban areas

Authors: 
Lundgren K, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2013

Global climate change increases heat loads in urban areas causing health and productivity risks for millions of people. Inhabitants in tropical and subtropical urban areas are at especial risk due to high population density, already high temperatures, and temperature increases due to climate change. Air conditioning is growing rapidly, especially in South and South-East Asia due to income growth and the need to protect from high heat exposures.

Mapping Occupational Heat Exposure and Effects in South-East Asia: Ongoing Time Trends 1980−2011 and Future Estimates to 2050

Authors: 
Kjellstrom T, Lemke B, Otto M
Year: 
2013

A feature of climate impacts on occupational health and safety are physiological limits to carrying out physical work at high heat exposure. Heat stress reduces a workers work capacity, leading to lower hourly labour productivity and economic output. We used existing weather sta-tion data and climate modeling grid cell data to describe heat conditions (calculated as Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, WBGT) in South-East Asia.

Heat Exposure, Cardiovascular Stress and Work Productivity in Rice Harvesters in India: Implications for a Climate Change Future

Authors: 
Sahu S, Sett M, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2013

Excessive workplace heat exposures create well-known risks of heat stroke, and it limits the workers' capacity to sustain physical activity. There is very limited evidence available on how these effects reduce work productivity, while the quantitative relationship between heat and work productivity is an essential basis for climate change impact assessments. We measured hourly heat exposure in rice fields in West Bengal and recorded perceived health problems via interviews of 124 rice harvesters. In a sub-group (n = 48) heart rate was recorded every minute in a standard work situation.

Occupational health and safety impacts of climate conditions

Authors: 
Kjellstrom T, Lemke B, Venugopal V. In: Pielke R.
Year: 
2013

Climate conditions in workplaces are occupational health hazards that need to be taken into account when assessing population vulnerability to climate conditions and climate changes. Very cold as well as very hot work environments can create thermal stress beyond what human physiology can cope with. All human populations have a normal core body temperature in the range 36–37 °C, and even a few degrees higher or lower body temperature, due to surrounding climate conditions, can lead to serious health effects.

Calculating workplace WBGT from meteorological data

Authors: 
Lemke B, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2012

The WBGT heat stress index has been well tested under a variety of climatic conditions and quantitative links have been established between WBGT and the work-rest cycles needed to prevent heat stress effects at the workplace. While there are more specific methods based on individual physiological measurements to determine heat strain in an individual worker, the WBGT index is used in international and national standards to specify workplace heat stress risks.

Calculating Workplace WBGT from Meteorological Data: A Tool for Climate Change Assessment

Authors: 
Lemke B, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2012

The WBGT heat stress index has been well tested under a variety of climatic conditions and quantitative links have been established between WBGT and the work-rest cycles needed to prevent heat stress effects at the workplace. While there are more specific methods based on indi-vidual physiological measurements to determine heat strain in an individual worker, the WBGT index is used in international and national standards to specify workplace heat stress risks.

Association Between Occupational Heat Stress and Kidney Disease Among 37 816 Workers in the Thai Cohort Study

Authors: 
Tawatsupa B, Lim LL-Y, Kjellstrom T, Seubsman S, Sleigh A & the Thai Cohort Study team
Year: 
2012

Background: We examined the relationship between self-reported occupational heat stress and incidence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed kidney disease in Thai workers.