Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

Other reports in this collection Suspended particulates

Fine particulates are associated with respiratory symptoms, airway hyperreactivity, impaired lung function, reduced exercise capacity, pulmonary inflammation, pulmonary function decrements, increased number of emergency room visits for asthma, increased hospitalizations, increased absence from school or work, and increased mortality from cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer. Children, the elderly, smokers, asthmatics, and others with respiratory disorders are especially vulnerable to particulate air pollution (Stieb et al., 1995; Seaton, 1996; Choudry et al., 1997; Duncan et al., 1998; USEPA, 1998a). Nutritional health

In the United States, food-borne diseases are estimated to cause 76 million cases of illness annually, with 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths (Mead et al., 1999). Future food importations are likely to be associated with increases in outbreaks of some viral, parasitic, and bacterial diseases, such as hepatitis A (Duncan et al., 1998).

Many aboriginal communities undertake hunting, fishing, and other resource-based activities for subsistence. Climate change is likely to dramatically alter the abundance and distribution of wildlife, fish, and vegetation. As a result, food supplies and economic livelihoods of many First Nations peoples would be in jeopardy (Last et al., 1998; Weller and Lange, 1999). Disappearance of traditional medicinal plants from areas populated by Native American and other indigenous peoples may likewise affect physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Figure 15-3: Cycle of human response to natural hazards, including response and recovery, mitigation, and preparedness. This response can alter vulnerability and thereby influence future disasters (Etkin, 1999).

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