Climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. Early effects on our health in Europe



Edited by Sari Kovats, Bettina Menne, Anthony McMichael, Roberto Bertollini and Colin Soskolne
WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No. 88
2000, xii + 120 pages
ISBN 92 890 1355 9
This publication is only available online.

People are concerned about the impact on their health of the climate warming and stratospheric ozone depletion that Europe has been experiencing for the last century. This publication attempts to clarify what early effects these environmental changes are having on our health, and what further effects they may have in the future.

What is certain is that more frequent thermal stress, associated or not with air pollution, causes illness and death, especially among the elderly; extreme weather events such as floods cause death, illness and material damage; some water- and foodborne diseases increase during extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rainfall and heatwaves; malaria could increase with climate warming; and ozone depletion increases skin cancer and weakens the immune system. While much is still uncertain about the precise relationship between changes in the climate and changes in disease patterns, the need for action is clear: action either to reduce the climate change itself, or to reduce its harmful effects.