Vermont Climate and Health Profile Report: Building Resilience against Climate Change in Vermont

The Vermont Department of Health completed a comprehensive assessment of public health impacts of climate change, as a step toward furthering development of public health adaptation strategies for the state. The report summarizes climate trends and future projections for Vermont; synthesizes the health impacts of climate change, and evaluates the public health threat posed by each exposure in the context of Vermont-specific climate projections. The work is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and utilizes the process as defined in the CDC’s Building Resilience against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework. This Climate and Health Profile Report is part of the first BRACE step.

Each of the following climate impacts linked to public health in Vermont are discussed in great detail: Air Pollution, Extreme Heat Events, Extreme Weather Events, Vector-Borne and other Infectious Diseases, Food-borne and Waterborne Diseases, Harmful Algal Blooms, Food Insecurity, Threats to Mental Health, Potential Exposures from Primary Mitigation Technologies, Population Dislocation, Civil Conflict, Ice Hazards, Sea-Level Rise, and Stratospheric Ozone Depletion.

Chapter 4, Vulnerable Populations, describes the vulnerable groups that the Climate and Health Adaptation Program will consider in developing adaptation strategies. Relevant climate impact exposures are summarized for each.

The populations which are considered vulnerable in the Climate and Health Profile go beyond the typical indicators of social inequity to include:

  • Elderly
  • Children
  • Outdoor recreationalists
  • Outdoor workers
  • Vermonters with asthma, allergies or other respiratory conditions
  • Vermonters with cardiovascular conditions
  • Vermonters with a mental illness
  • New Vermonters
  • Vermonters living in flood-prone areas
  • Vermonters of low socio-economic status
  • Vermonters employed in climate-sensitive sectors
  • Users of Private Wells and Small Water Systems. 

The report describes that due to resource and feasibility constraints, not all the climate impacts identified can undergo the full BRACE process. Six high priority exposures were selected as focus areas for future implementation of the program, including:

  • Extreme heat events
  • Air quality impacts
  • Extreme weather events
  • Mosquito and tick-borne disease
  • Foodborne and waterborne pathogens
  • Cyanobacteria blooms

 

Publication Date: September 2016

Related Organizations:

  • Vermont Department of Health

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment

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