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High Temperatures in Colorado Due to Climate Change Pose Major Health Risk


Research findings published today by scientists at National Jewish Health and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, published by Springer Nature, show that climate change has increased ground-level ozone, a respiratory irritant that affects residents in Colorado.

The higher temperatures brought on by climate change from the 1950’s to 2019 have accelerated the formation of ground-level ozone in the Denver Metro area, delaying the region’s ability to meet national ozone standards and imposing additional public health burdens on residents, especially those living in Latinx neighborhoods and neighborhoods with high rates of asthma and diabetes.

Ground-level ozone is a public health issue that can exacerbate chronic respiratory diseases and interfere with lung function. The data in this new research could help communities prepare for future impacts of climate change and access public health services to cope with the harm that has already occurred from ozone pollution.

“Climate change has sped up ozone production and will continue to make the problem worse until we reduce heat-trapping emissions,” said James L. Crooks, PhD, a researcher at National Jewish Health. “Climate change is already upon us and we can already detect its influence on the Front Range’s ozone problem.”

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 125 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of children and adults with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit the media resources page.

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