EPA report shows health impacts of climate change on children

A new report compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency shows lifelong consequences of climate change on children’s learning, physical health, and housing security.

The peer-reviewed report quantifies projected health effects associated with extreme heat, air quality, changing seasons, flooding, and infectious diseases. Where possible, the analyses consider the extent to which health effects disproportionately fall on children who are indigenous, Black or children of color, low income, without health insurance, and/or have limited English proficiency.

Analysists found that climate change is expected to increase incidences of asthma in children due to changes in air quality. Increases in oak, birch, and grass pollen are expected to increase children’s asthma-related emergency department visits from 17% to 30% annually – an additional 2,600 to 23,400 new cases each year.

Climate driven temperature rises are projected to result in 4% to 7% reductions in annual academic achievement per child, losses that could potentially affect the future income of these children.

Without additional adaptation actions, one million to two million children are estimated to experience temporary home displacement or complete home loss from coastal flooding.

“The new report is painful to read, but necessary,” said Elizabeth Bechard, Moms Clean Air Force senior policy analyst. “It offers an important roadmap for policymakers, parents, teachers, health care providers, and childcare workers by highlighting both the challenges we face and potential solutions. For all who care about children’s well-being, EPA’s new report is a call to action — a call we must answer for our children’s sake.”