APRIL 29, 2010
Global warming could lead to a worldwide increase in mental illness and cancer, according to a new U.S. government report calling for more public funding to further study one of the “most visible environmental concerns of the 21st century.”
Government scientists from several agencies—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency—claim that “higher ambient temperatures” caused by global warming will increase cancer rates and catastrophic natural disasters as the world warms will create stress and anxiety that lead to mental illness.
The rather comical details are outlined in report (A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change), justifying the need to keep researching climate change, issued by the National Institute of Health. It claims that global warming has become one of the most visible environmental concerns of the 21st century and that climate change endangers human health and affects all sectors of society, both domestically and globally.
The scientists don’t provide details of how exactly global warming will increase cancer rates and cause mental illness but assert that further research—and money—is necessary to obtain the information. For now, they only know that warming and the side effects of green technologies will be detrimental to human health.
Cancer and mental illness are not usually associated with global warming but this report claims both will surely be affected. Global warming will increase exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy rainfall (also caused by global warming) will wash the toxic chemicals into the water, which will lead to higher incidents of cancer. Hotter temperatures may also make the toxic chemicals even more toxic, according to the report.
Another way that global warming will cause more cancer, the scientists determined, is from increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which causes some types of skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation exposure occurs with all sun exposure but global warming will make it worse, leading to potentially more skin cancer.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexual dysfunction, and drug abuse are among the mental health conditions that will be exacerbated by global warming, the report says, because a variety of psychological impacts can be associated with extreme weather and other climate related events.
Here’s how, according to the government scientists: “Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding, can create increased anxiety and emotional stress about the future, as well as create added stress to vulnerable communities already experiencing social, economic, and environmental disruption. “
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