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Climate Health and Risk Tool

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topics: Heat Health Risk (12), Introduction to CHaRT (2)

Heat Health Risk

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General GuidancePublished: 06/20/2023 by Tim Sheehan, PhD
Drivers of heat health risk vary from location to location. CHaRT provides guidance to reduce risk from specific drivers. This document provides background on how the heat health model considers risk and provides links to all of CHaRT's heat health risk reduction guidance.
Worker ProtectionsPublished: 06/20/2023 by Alan Wang, BA, Jeremy J. Hess, MD, MPH
With rising global temperatures, workers may be increasingly required to work in hot environments, and will be more susceptible to heat stress, occupational injuries, and potentially decreased productivity. Importantly, heat stress for workers derives from both external sources of heat in the environment as well as internal sources including metabolic activity, which is increased during physical activity. Heat stress can be amplified by personal protective equipment that reduces evaporative cooling through sweating. Workers are at risk for dehydration, occupational injuries, absenteeism, and chronic kidney injury, as well as decreased productivity, which can affect wages. Individuals working in industries that require strenuous physical activity, outdoor operations, and exposure to high-temperature environments are the most vulnerable. Worker protections are interventions put in place to protect workers from heat exposure and heat stress, and generally fall into the categories of infrastructure changes, administrative or work practice changes including empowering workers to pace themselves in their work, and personal protective equipment. Policies may be implemented at multiple levels but ultimately play out at the worksite and workers individually. There is a wide range of specific potential interventions, with varying costs, implementation timelines, and degrees of environmental sustainability. Consensus recommendations for US workplaces are available. While some more effective interventions have higher upfront costs, these costs are likely to be at least partially offset through increased worker health, productivity, and retention.
Air ConditioningPublished: 06/19/2023 by Alan Wang, BA, Jeremy J. Hess, MD, MPH
Air conditioning, which mechanically cools indoor air, can be installed in a single room or building. Air conditioning strongly protects against adverse health impacts during extreme heat, and is on track to be the leading intervention against extreme heat globally. Air conditioning can be implemented quickly, over hours to days depending on the type of installation. Implementation costs from several hundred dollars for a window unit up to several thousand for air conditioning an entire home. While strongly protective, air conditioning is costly to install and operate and is not equitably distributed; its use can also contribute to air pollution and carbon pollution. Multiple more sustainable, albeit less effective, cooling strategies are available, and strategies for subsidizing installation and operating costs can decrease inequities in air conditioning distribution and utilization.

Introduction to CHaRT

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CHaRT: Climate Health and Risk ToolPublished: 06/21/2023 by Tim Sheehan
CHaRT is an interactive, web-based tool that exposes the level of health risk from a specific climate hazard and exposes the factors that drive that risk. Here we provide a high level introduction to CHaRT.
Fuzzy Logic ModelingPublished: 06/21/2023 by Tim Sheehan
CHaRT models use a decision modeling approach called fuzzy logic. Fuzzy logic is a system based on natural language that recognizes that people have individualized or subjective perspectives that affect decisions. This document provides a brief and understandable introduction to fuzzy logic.
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