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Heat Advisory: Protecting Health on a Warming Planet
by Dr. Alan Lockwood

Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

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Keystone Pipeline News--5 Health Reasons to Herald the End of the Keystone Pipeline

February 24, 2015

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Contact: Catherine Thomasson, MD Executive Director 503-819-1170

Keystone Bill Vetoed: Physicians’ Group Praises Presidential Decision, Calls for Keystone XL Pipeline Permit to be Denied. 

Physicians for Social Responsibility applauds President Obama’s decision to veto the congressional bill to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.  “The President’s decision is the only healthy decision for Americans,” stated PSR executive director Catherine Thomasson, MD.  PSR cites the pipeline’s implications for health, ranging from possible water contamination to increased health threats due to climate change.

Damage to water, land from leaks

The Keystone Pipeline XL is designed to take Canadian oil to refinery and export facilities in the south of the U.S.  This dirty, heavy oil is corrosive and more prone to leakage.  Smaller pipelines carrying this crude have already had numerous spills.  The oil sinks, and is nearly impossible to truly clean out of rivers, which would result in loss of clean drinking water.   

Development of Tar Sands worsens Climate Change

Approval of Keystone XL would worsen climate change by expanding extraction of the dirtiest oil on the planet.  The extraction of that oil, its transportation, processing and eventual combustion would accelerate climate change, which is impacting our health now.

Five Top Climate Change Health Impacts: Extreme weather including polar vortex, heat events and deaths, air pollution, water and vector-borne disease and flooding.

Extreme weather events caused by climate change threaten our health with increasing frequency.

  • Health is harmed when physical damage, loss of heat and electricity, and flooding affect our hospitals, homes and infrastructure.
  • The polar vortex which is hammering much of the United States today is one of the extreme weather events that is more likely to occur with climate change.  It’s causing burst pipes, sump pump breakage in septic tanks and roof collapsing under snow weight. It’s also causing more heart attacks from exertion and exposure.
  • Climate change threatens our food supply due to flooding, freezing and heat waves. 
  • Climate change increases the range of insect-borne diseases.  Lyme disease is epidemic, and Dengue fever threatens the south.
  • Ozone air pollution worsens with rising temperatures, increasing asthma and other lung problems. 

“Climate change is already causing these health impacts – and the future could hold health disasters, if we can’t get our fossil fuel addiction under control,” added Dr. Thomasson. 


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In the Spotlight

  • November 5, 2017
    APHA 2017 Health Activist Dinner
    The Health Activist Dinner at American Public Health Association's annual meeting will include the presentation of the Edward Barsky Award to PSR's Dr. Ira Helfand.