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Lungs in a Warming WorldClimate Change and Respiratory Health: Climate Change and Respiratory Health

Aaron S. Bernstein, MD; Mary B. Rice, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard School of Public Health (Dr Bernstein); the Division of General Medicine (Dr Bernstein), Boston Children’s Hospital; and the Pulmonary Critical Care Unit (Dr Rice), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: Aaron Bernstein, MD, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Hunnewell 2, Boston, MA 02215; e-mail: aaron.bernstein@childrens.harvard.edu


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(5):1455-1459. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2384
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Climate change is a health threat no less consequential than cigarette smoking. Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, and especially CO2, in the earth’s atmosphere have already warmed the planet substantially, causing more severe and prolonged heat waves, temperature variability, air pollution, forest fires, droughts, and floods, all of which put respiratory health at risk. These changes in climate and air quality substantially increase respiratory morbidity and mortality for patients with common chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD and other serious lung diseases. Physicians have a vital role in addressing climate change, just as they did with tobacco, by communicating how climate change is a serious, but remediable, hazard to their patients.


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