Claim: Children are highly vulnerable to health risks of a changing climate

From the COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’S MAILMAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH and the “say anything” department.

Young children are far more vulnerable to climate-related disasters and the onus is on adults to provide the protection and care that children need, according to research by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Irving Medical Center. In a paper published in PLoS Medicine, researchers set out some specific challenges associated with the impacts of climate change on the world’s 2.3 billion children and suggest ways to address their underprioritized needs.

“Because of their anatomic, cognitive, immunologic, and psychologic differences, children and adolescents are more vulnerable to climate change-related events like floods, droughts, and heatwaves than adults,” says Madeleine Thomson, PhD, a research scholar in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, faculty member at Columbia’s Earth Institute, a guest editor in PLOS One Medicine’s Special Issue on Climate Change and Health in the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.

Because of their small surface-to-body ratio, infants and children are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and heat stress. During heat waves, children are more likely to be affected by respiratory disease, kidney disease, electrolyte imbalance, and fever. Heat waves have also been shown to exacerbate allergens and air pollution which impact children more severely than adults because of their underdeveloped respiratory and immune systems and because they breathe at a faster rate than adults.

The authors write that hotter temperatures may also expand the range of vector-borne diseases, including the Zika virus which, following the 2015 epidemic, has profoundly affected the lives of children and their families across Latin America and the Caribbean. Even children who were asymptomatic at birth may develop problems later in life.

After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017 medical responders encountered increases in gastroenteritis, asthma exacerbations and skin infections. Children were also at increased risk for mosquito-borne diseases such as Chikungunya and Dengue, as well as leptospirosis through the drinking of contaminated water. Flood waters from Hurricane Harvey a few weeks earlier dropped record breaking rain. Most of the Harvey-related toxic releases were never publicized and the long-term implications for children’s health is unknown. Studies suggest that climate change is increasing the intensity of North Atlantic hurricanes and the likelihood that the severe consequences for children’s health will grow.

In rural households droughts can have significant impacts on child development through increased food insecurity and dietary changes [17]. Droughts may also contribute to conflict and forced migration in resource poor settings, thereby increasing children’s vulnerability to a wide range of health issues.

To begin to address the specific needs of children confronted with climate-change related health disasters, Thomson and colleagues are proposing the following:

  1. Establish an international consortium of experts to develop adoptable medical and behavioral protocols and to set research agendas to address the unmet child specific needs that arise from climate-related natural disasters.
  2. Develop best practice guidelines for climate-change related event planning that incorporates strategies for addressing the health-related needs of children.
  3. Fund mechanisms designed to help the most vulnerable nations prepare for and respond to climate related disasters must consider funding the development of responses that specifically address the unmet needs of children’s health.

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Co-authors are Lawrence Stanberry, Columbia Department of Pediatrics; Wilmot James, Columbia Department of Pediatrics and School of International and Public Affairs.

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60 thoughts on “Claim: Children are highly vulnerable to health risks of a changing climate

  1. “Claim: Children are highly vulnerable to health risks of a changing climate” The climate has always been changing and will continue to change whether mankind is here or not. Children have always been and always will be vulnerable to health risks no matter what the climate is . The claim is nonsense.

  2. They left out the fact that a high surface to volume ratio in children also makes them more susceptible to hypothermia in cold weather.

    I would say that some children suffer most from the psychological fear of climate change as imparted by their teachers and the scare-mongering media. Hopefully once they are older and wiser, they will realize that climate naturally changes, and humans need only make small talk about the weather as they once did – not agonize over non-existent CAGW.

    • I see that you corrected the article’s claim that a small child has a SMALLER surface-to-volume ratio than an adult, but you didn’t call attention to their error. Your statement is correct, since surface area increases as the square and volume as the cube, therefore a small child has a LARGER surface-to-volume ratio than an adult.

    • Phillip Bratby

      Give us more money so that we can continue to produce more cr@p. –>

      Phillip Bratby

      Give us more money so that we can continue to produce more climate science cr@p funding.

  3. Perhaps the authors could explain, by example, any stress factor, any one at all, that DOESN’T affect children more than adults?

    Can’t even mock these people they have become so ridiculous.

    • Actually, children seem more resilient than adults. I went through a lot of physical issues and abuse as a kid that would have had a bigger impact as an adult. I think it’s knowing you’re not in control; the adults are.

      • When you’re 7, a fall usually means a scraped knee and a bruise or two. When you’re 70, a fall can mean a broken hip or worse.

  4. Who did they have in mind for their “international consortium of experts”, I wonder?

  5. Willis’ Law:
    The more logically insupportable a proposition is, the greater will be the invocation of babies as justification.
    goes with Gresham’s Law of Ideology and Godwin’s Law of social influencing.

    • King of Cool

      Surely you must be hallucinating. There is no mention of “Near record snow falls in Australia” littering the MSM. Not a word about “Record low temperatures” nor “Influenza bug sweeps across Australia during winter”. I don’t see any reports of “Poverty stricken Australian pensioners dying from the cold because they either eat or heat!” or even a story about freezing Wombats and Koala’s.

      You need to stop smoking what you’re smoking because an “Australian winter climate disaster” hasn’t been mentioned anywhere in any scientific studies or MSM articles so it can’t possibly be true.

      (Do I need to find the sarc switch for this?)

  6. The most dangerous place on earth for children are liberals wombs.

    Disgusting people aren’t they.
    Using children for their own selfish agenda, that’s leftism for you, zero morals.
    …………………………

    Establish an international consortium of experts to develop adoptable medical and behavioral protocols and to set research agendas to address the unmet child specific needs that arise from climate-related natural disasters.

  7. Fantastic News! What better way to … population control … than to have lots of children DIE! I would think the AGW ghouls would be CELEBRATING this news? Just think of all those little future “breeders” never regenerating! Woo hoo!! Population control via mother nature’s angry rebuke of the human parasites planet altering behaviour. /sarc. obvious

    • When it’s cold — children result — via adults.
      When it’s hot — not so much.
      The pop.-control freaks should want it hot.

  8. More stupidity from desperate climate change morons who know nothing about climatology!

  9. We obviously have too many academics who have run out of ideas for sensible things to do. Then, of course there is the money aspect; so it all gets increasingly incestuous.

  10. “floods, droughts, and heatwaves” are weather, not climate. We all have to weather the weather, not the average of it.

    If they cannot get that concept right, of what value is the rest of their study.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

  11. This thing is just completely out of control – spiralling away into the far-flung yonder of Crazy Ville somewhere on Planet Of The Muppets.

    Analyse even a small portion – Body Size/Surface Area
    Do they realise they are advocating for ‘Fat Children’

    The craziness is complete because many children already are – 40% of the under 5s in a particular region of this world are obese.
    Where is this utopia you may ask.
    Yes. It is THE very place where the Mediterranean Diet supposedly comes from.
    A Dream Come True.

    Why?
    Because the tiny babies were fed on fake baby milk. Not their mother’s milk.
    They were force fed vegetable oil instead of saturated fat.

    Their brains subsequently didn’t develop properly leading to low intelligence, short attention span and easily irritated, hence on the fast-track to a career in Climate Science.

    THEN, when these poor babes are introduced to real food (supposedly healthy vegetables), their Kwashkior *really* kicks into gear and they rebel extremely vociferously against the tsunami of irritants, allergens and flat-out poisons being pushed into their mouths.
    Why else was Ritalin invented?

    Every instinct they have, what they were born with and effectively Mother Nature tells them that vegetables are not what they are supposed to be eating.

    Slight tangent:
    Tomato ketchup. Am I right to assume its lovely red colour comes from the skin of the fruit? If it does, those tomato skins are full of Alkaloid poison. The same chemical family as stuff found in potato skins, Belladonna, laburnum AND Nicotiana Sylvestris.
    So NOW you know why tomato ketchup is the favourite condiment in the Western World.
    Also in neonicotinoid pesticide?
    Nice.

    Back to where we were:
    No matter.
    Scientists & doctors, advising the parents, can deal with this naughty recalcitrance….
    They say to the small children: ” If you eat this irritant, allergenic, nutrient-free and toxic stew of vegetable mush; when you’re finished you can have some MDMA, some Acid or pure & uncut cocaine.
    How’s that. Is it a deal?”
    The kiddies jump at it. These are their parents, elders and betters doing the talking.
    Would could possibly go wrong?

    Those chemical goodies actually translate into Refined Sugar, dextrose and fructose not least and BINGO.
    We get:
    Fat children. Low intelligence. Riddled with asthma. Immune systems driven completely crazy. Half asleep all the time. Can’t be bothered. Fail at school. Fail at science. Fail at politics. Fail at marital relationships. Fail at Sputnik launches. fail fail fail fail

    Is anyone connecting any of the same dots I am?

    • “Slight tangent:
      Tomato ketchup. Am I right to assume its lovely red colour comes from the skin of the fruit? If it does, those tomato skins are full of Alkaloid poison.”

      Good Lord!
      Did you never grow tomatoes and make pasta sauce? Did nobody ever show you how to blanch a tomato and skin it when you were a kid?

      Do you really not know where the color comes from?

      “Is anyone connecting any of the same dots I am?”
      Nope!

      The last time I saw someone who was a “Clear Thinker”, like you, who knew best for everybody, they turned out to be a clinical manic depressive. That person got thrown out of restaurants, got arrested, jailed, and destroyed everything, and everybody he came in contact with. Eventually, his parents, at the urging of his ex-wife, stepped in. The fellow was committed to hospitalization.

      Peta of Newark:
      Get help.

    • Hello Peta
      Haven’t seen you commenting lately. I wondered if you’d run out of sugar or something.
      sr

  12. Anthony Watts:
    Enough is enough.
    For a year now, we have had Eric Worrwall trolling for the worst of Climate Hysteria in EukrAlerts, and then in the British paper The Guardian.
    I consider Three Main Floors of science.
    1) Real Science
    2) Junk Science
    3) Garbage Science

    All we have gotten lately is the worst of Garbage Science around here.
    Is it out there? YES, We already know that.
    Does the MSM use it for ratings? YES, We already know that.
    Is it “Worse Than We Thought”? YES, We already know that.

    Enough with the Garbage science.
    No more trolling for the worst of the Climate Hysteria, WUWT can do better.

  13. The greatest threat to children is stupid parents. A nanny state doesn’t improve things, it just promotes more laziness and a lack of personal responsibility.

  14. “During heat waves, children are more likely to be affected by respiratory disease, kidney disease, electrolyte imbalance, and fever.”

    Assuming of course parents don’t take any precautions whatsoever. And I’m pretty sure that in the UK at least, winter time is far worse for respiratory conditions with colds and flue readily transmitted in centrally heated classrooms/offices with virtually no ventilation from open windows.

    “Heat waves have also been shown to exacerbate allergens and air pollution which impact children more severely than adults because of their underdeveloped respiratory and immune systems and because they breathe at a faster rate than adults.”

    Lets just ban summer altogether then, shall we?

    “After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017 medical responders encountered increases in gastroenteritis, asthma exacerbations and skin infections.”

    I daresay that happens after every hurricane hits any city.

    “Children were also at increased risk for mosquito-borne diseases such as Chikungunya and Dengue, as well as leptospirosis through the drinking of contaminated water.”

    Hardly comes as a surprise as, if properties are damaged, that may include fly screens on windows and even mosquito nets over beds. And the population drinking contaminated water is a risk they should be made aware of before the hurricane hits. If they are drinking contaminated water that’s either the utility companies fault for allowing it to be pumped, their own fault for not understanding the water may be contaminated or, in extreme cases, because they have no choice.

    “Flood waters from Hurricane Harvey a few weeks earlier dropped record breaking rain.”

    I’m not sure I understand that statement.

    “Studies suggest that climate change is increasing the intensity of North Atlantic hurricanes and the likelihood that the severe consequences for children’s health will grow.”

    And observations demonstrate that America went 12 years without a major North Atlantic hurricane strike, so are we to expect Sharknado over the coming years just to redress the net benefit of fewer hurricanes? And of course, they just had to get “Studies suggest that climate change…….” in, didn’t they?

    “Droughts may also contribute to conflict and forced migration in resource poor settings……….”

    No, No, No!!!!!!!!! Humans are a nomadic race, those living at the fringes of existence frequently do from choice. They understand the need to move when conditions change but now it’s branded “migration” so the concept becomes racist and unacceptable if it’s allowed to continue.

    Of course these studies are probably undertaken by ‘comfortably numb’ academics safely domiciled in a ‘civilised’ western city and their perception of life is that city dwelling is a natural and normal human condition.

    And therein lies the problem. These people, and the climate change faithful are domiciled in cities, built on river banks and estuaries, with most of their lifetime investment in properties that would be lost if sea levels did rise uncontrollably. And by uncontrollably, I mean overnight, not as observations would suggest, over hundreds of years. They expect and demand everyone else lives in the settings they are used to and simply must find a reason to explain why, when humans cram themselves cheek by jowl into cities, life is tough when a disaster hits. Climate change is a convenient scapegoat. In reality of course, life in a city starts off shitty, and can only get worse.

    And I know this article is an extract from the study but, seriously, if it’s at all representative, I despair for science.

  15. It sounds like instead of building windmills, we should be subsidizing air conditioning. Think of the children!

  16. In other words, “think of the children”! It’s one of their favorite, logically fallacious and specious forms of argument, the Appeal to Emotion. Since they don’t have actual science, facts, or even reason on their side.

  17. Funded researchers have honed the art of tying everything to climate change; politicians blame everything on Donald Trump — now let’s bring the two together — everything that happens is due to climate change and Donald Trump.

  18. It just gets stupider and stupider. Darwin is dead, slashed and burned. Evolution is impossible now. We are all doomed.

  19. I wish to register a Complaint with a gross oversight that has been committed in this article, as it is clear to all that obviously Female Children and Minority Children will by far more at risk than White Male Children.

  20. The biggest threat to the children of the world, by far, is the effects of *poverty*. Extreme weather events (which have always occurred in human history and cannot be prevented) is vastly less dangerous to developed countries who can afford to adapt. Adopting expensive and ineffective mitigation strategies and discouraging fossil-fueled development is actively counterproductive if your only motivation is the welfare of children.

  21. “Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health”

    I am appalled by Columbia University’s sexism. They should change the name of the school of public health to: “Columbia University’s Postal Worker School of Public Health”

  22. POVERTY — It is the children of poverty that are hurt by any and all adverse social, political and weather events. Substituting the words “climate-change related health disasters” doesn’t change make a difference in either the event — a flood, a drought, a heat-wave, a hard cold winter — or the outcome. Poor children and the elderly poor are always the worst hit. The physiological reasons for this are clearly stated in the abstract — the social and political reasons are ignored — and the true causes of both the events themselves (weather) and the causes of the effects (mostly politics reinforcing poverty) are totally ignored as if they didn’t exist.
    There ought to be dedicated Children’s Welfare representatives on every disaster relief planning team — money should be specially earmarked for children’s health care, nutritional supplements, children’s recovery foods (such as Plumpy’nut.)
    The rest of the paper rests on the mis-understoods of the IPCC — that African droughts are caused by climate change and that hurricanes in Florida and Texas are climate-change driven, etc..

  23. Yes, when sanitation breaks down, when mosquito control stops, when natural disaster happens, children are the most vulnerable. Yet climate warming has nothing to do with any of the three.

    There is NO evidence that climate change has increased the spread on any arthropod vectored diseases since WWII or will it happen in the future. What appear to be so called “emerging” diseases have been around a long time affecting human populations where those diseases have been endemic, e.g., Zika, Chikungunya, etc. They have been spread by modern rapid travel, in the case of Zika it was the World Cup and African nations traveling to Brazil with large populations of the primary vector.

    As for dengue, malaria, and yellow fever those were common diseases throughout the world during from the middle of the 20th Century back through at least the 19th Century. The Romans had to deal with malaria. There were outbreaks in Russia and through large portions of the USA. Yellow fever epidemics took place during the Little Ice Age.

    In many third world countries, where sanitation is often optional, children suffer the most from gastrointestinal disorders, many dying before they are four. Gastrointestinal diseases also lead to kidney problems, poor mental development, etc.

    Countries with relatively cheap and well developed energy systems based on fossil fuels are the best at avoid all such problems.

    The biggest problem Dade County, Florida had in controlling the Zika outbreak there was due to mythologies created and promoted by the greens and those politicians seeking their votes and donations.

    This story seems to resurface about once or twice a year. I know that it has been refuted relative to arthropod vectored diseases more than once.

    By the by, Puerto Rico, long before the hurricane has faced regular, and sometimes epidemic out breaks of dengue.

  24. What are ‘climate related natural disasters’? They are droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves and extreme winter storms and cold events. In other words, they are the same natural disasters that humans have always had to deal with. But ‘regular natural disasters’ do not attract as much funding, attention and career advancement as ‘climate related natural disasters'”

    If you want more attention around your particular problem of concern, I would advise anyone to add the words ‘climate change related’ to the description to get more attention and funding. Here are some examples:

    Climate change related traffic congestion
    Climate change related urban blight
    Climate change related social security cutbacks
    Climate change related zoning issues
    Climate change related college loans
    Climate change related health care, especially climate related women’s healthcare
    Climate change related abortions
    Climate change related anti-semitism
    Climate change related me-too incidents
    Climate change related glass ceilings
    Climate change related inequality
    Climate change related racism
    Climate change related decline in good music
    Climate change related increase in obesity
    Climate change related increase in rudeness
    Climate change related increase in fake news
    Climate change related decline in new ideas from Hollywood

    And so on…

    When the officer asks why you were driving 20 mph over the speed limit: Climate Change
    When you haven’t paid your taxes: Climate Change
    When your wife asks you why you didn’t come home until 4 AM: Climate Change
    When the boss asks why you are 6 hours late for work: Climate Change
    Why you cheated on your spouse: Climate Change
    Why you committed any crime you can think of: Climate Change

    If it is good enough for Academia, it should be good enough for the rest of us!

    • If the Republicans win the midterms, it will be proof of the effects of (political) climate change. That would give liberals reason to commit all of the above as antifas.

  25. I remember wading through waist deep floodwaters after Hurricane Betsy struck Southeast Louisiana in 1965. As during Katrina, the water was trapped inside the levee system of New Orleans for some time. I remember seeing catfish swimming on the street where I lived. Somehow I survived.

  26. So where is a mention of the elderly here when it comes to health risks supposedly from CO2 enrichment of the lower troposphere? You would have thought they’d deliver the convenient double-edged, generation-spanning emotional appeal on this.
    I believe the disaster relief mentioned should have included DDT spraying and eradicating mosquito breeding sites.

  27. Hmm. Explain, then, why the most fecund populations (not only of humans but also plants and animals) tend to be in the hottest climates. Can’t be that warmer makes for easier living…!!

  28. Let’s get more people together to talk and talk and talk while the real world goes on. I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the final demographic make up of this “international consortium.”

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