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CDPH Releases Climate Change, County Reports for Earth Day

Post Date:04/21/2017

Number: 17-038 

Contact: Ali Bay - (916) 440-7259 

SACRAMENTO -- 

In recognition of Earth Day, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released the first tools in California to address vulnerability in climate change from a health perspective in every county.

The two new reports are designed to help local health departments mitigate the effects of climate change and develop policies to prevent diseases and injuries in their communities.

The Climate Change and Health Profile Reports provide climate change projections for counties and identify challenges and opportunities to help prepare for health impacts related to global warming.

“Every county will experience the impacts of climate change in a unique way,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “We hope these reports give local leaders some of the resources they need to protect their communities from the preventable health impacts of climate change.”

The climate change reports are the first in a series of materials being developed by CDPH addressing vulnerability to climate change from a health perspective. For example, the reports show that 5-10 additional heat waves of 100-degree temperatures are expected in Central Valley counties each year by 2100. These counties have fewer tree canopies that cool the air, and residents in the Central Valley are less likely to have air conditioning. Many Central Valley residents also work outdoors, often in agricultural fields, putting them at increased risk of being impacted by climate change due to illness and death related to extreme heat.

The County Health Status Profiles show continued progress in slowing the incidence of AIDS and declining rates of people dying from cancers and heart disease. The reports provide statewide and county-level data to help guide local health prevention strategies.

“While it’s encouraging to see progress in some areas of public health, we clearly have our work cut out for us to ensure that all communities across the state share in these positive changes,” said Dr. Smith. “Sadly, too many people in California continue to suffer from chronic disease due to poor diet, lack of physical activity and tobacco use. Additionally, health risks from climate change are more prevalent in low-income communities and some communities of color.”

Highlights of the County Health Status Profiles 2017 include:

  • A 28 percent decrease in the incidence of AIDS among Californians 13 and older. San Francisco’s incidence of AIDS has decreased 45.5 percent from the previous three-year period, but remains above the state average.
  • Decreases in cancer death rates. The death rate for lung cancer showed a decrease of more than 11 percent.
  • Births among teen mothers (15-19 years) decreased nearly 27 percent.
  • Tuberculosis decreased nearly 8 percent.
  • Substantial increases in gonorrhea cases among 15-44 year-olds, including a 65 percent increase among males, and a 37 percent increase in females. Chlamydia rates increased 6 percent.