AMA calls for Australian Leadership to address the global health impacts of climate change

AMA, media release 4 September 2015
“The AMA today released the updated AMA Position Statement on Climate Change and Human Health (Revised 2015), which was last revised in 2008. The updated Position Statement takes account of the most recent scientific evidence, and is being released a day after United States President Barack Obama said that “climate change left unchecked would soon trigger global conflict and condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair”.”
Find release and link to statement here.

Are Arguments about GMO Safety Really About Something Else?

Bioethics Forum, online 28 July 2015
Author: Gregory E. Kaebnick
“The scientific consensus that food containing genetically modified organisms is safe seems ever stronger, yet the social controversy about GMOs seems only to grow as well. …Concerns about the incursion of science and technology into erstwhile “natural” aspects of life are hard to articulate and defend. Nor are they easily incorporated into public policy, just as they are not easily incorporated into cost-benefit analysis. One can see, then, why opponents’ arguments might be about “safety” even if their objection is really about something more complicated.”
Find article here.

GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

N Engl J Med 2015; 373:693-695August 20, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1505660
Authors: Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
“Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians’ worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive.”
Find article here.

Wellcome Trust urged to divest by 1,000 health professionals

The Guardian, 14 August 2015
Author: Emma Howard
“Close to 1,000 health professionals from around the world have thrown their weight behind an open letter asking the multi-billion pound health charity, the Wellcome Trust, to move its money out of fossil fuels on ethical grounds. The letter invokes one of the foremost principles of medical ethics, asking the Trust to “do no harm” because of the current and future impacts of climate change on global public health.”
Find article here.

Unsafe food is ‘growing global threat’

BBC, 2 April 2015
Author: Smitha Mundasad
“Eating food contaminated with bugs leads to more than half a billion cases of illness a year, the World Health Organization warns.
It says this “global threat” contributed to 351,000 deaths in 2010.Unsafe foods, for example undercooked meat, can cause 200 problems – from diarrhoea to cancer. But changes in food production mean there are more opportunities for meals to harbour harmful bugs or chemicals, experts say.”
Find article here.

Birth control access key means of reaching climate goals: experts

Reuters, 3 February 2015
Author: Laurie Goering
“In Pakistan, where just a third of married women use contraception, half of all pregnancies – 4.2 million each year – are unintended, according to the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau. At the same time, the rising population in Pakistan – and elsewhere around the world – is creating more climate-changing emissions and putting more people in the path of extreme weather, food and water shortages, and other climate change pressures.That suggests that giving more women who want it access to birth control to limit their family size – in both rich and poor countries – could be a hugely effective way to curb climate change and to build greater resilience to its impacts, according to population and climate change researchers and policy experts.”
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‘Suppressed’ EU report could have banned pesticides worth billions

The Guardian, 2 February 2015
Author: Arthur Neslen
“Science paper recommended ways of identifying hormone-mimicking chemicals in pesticides linked to foetal abnormalities, genital mutations, infertility and other diseases including cancer. As many as 31 pesticides with a value running into billions of pounds could have been banned because of potential health risks, if a blocked EU paper on hormone-mimicking chemicals had been acted upon, the Guardian has learned.”
Find article here.

Expert says claims that war games will harm thousands of animals are ‘overblown’

The Washington Post, 9 November 2014
Author: Darryl Fears
“War games have played out in the vast Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area for nearly 45 years, and environmentalists again are trying to halt them. The Conservation Council for Hawaii filed a federal lawsuit last year before the start of the exercise and last week submitted a motion asking a judge to declare the training illegal because it violates an act meant to protect endangered mammals.”
Find article here.

Climate change and health—action please, not words

The Lancet, Volume 384, Issue 9948, Page 1071, 20 September 2014
“Last year, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern that the world’s commitment to mitigate climate change was insufficient. Indeed, in today’s Lancet, a Comment by Andy Haines and others provides a stark reminder of the likely adverse effects on human health should fossil fuel consumption and high population growth continue at their present levels. They call for the health community to take a longer term view, where actions that target climate change and health today will reduce the global burden of ill-health in the future. So urgent is the need for effective and immediate action that on Sept 23, during the UN General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon will convene a climate summit to revitalise support from government, business, finance, and civil society leaders.”
Find editorial and link to related commentary here.

WHO calls for stronger action on climate-related health risks

WHO, news release 27 August 2014
“Previously unrecognized health benefits could be realized from fast action to reduce climate change and its consequences. … Measures to adapt to climate change could also save lives around the world by ensuring that communities are better prepared to deal with the impact of heat, extreme weather, infectious disease and food insecurity. These are two key messages being discussed at the first-ever global conference on health and climate, which opens today at WHO headquarters in Geneva. …The conference aims to pave the way for careful consideration of health and climate issues in the upcoming UN Climate Summit, being organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2014.”
Find release here.