State report warns of potential climate change health effects

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A state report yesterday outlined the seriousness of climate change, and its potential impacts on Alaskans' health.
The report says residents could see an increase in accidents, mental health issues, a worsening allergy season, dangerous hunting conditions, and the introduction of new diseases.
Thawing permafrost could damage the pipeline, roads, houses and airstrips, resulting in injuries and accidents.
Thinning ice may lead to more deaths, especially for those living in rural areas.
As for mental health, the report says people could experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder from dealing with fires, floods, storm surges and coastal erosion.
Wildfires are predicted to increase, raising the risk of lung and heart problems, while floods and melting permafrost might introduce new diseases.
Researchers say the purpose of this lengthy health assessment is to educate people on the potential dangers for Alaskans and their state.
Vladimir Romanovsky, at the UAF Geophysical Institute, believes many underestimate the consequences for the future, but awareness can help us make a change.
Vladimir Romanovsky; Professor of Geophysics>>: "So this is a really, really big problem. It's not like it doesn't happen because people don't know about it. Of course our government knows about all these problems. But most of the time they just don't have the money to fix all the problems. But maybe there is some way to solve this problem cheaper, and for that, definitely, science definitely can help. So that's why I think better knowledge about it and higher pressure from people to the government may make government spend a little bit more money on science."