Dec 15, 2021 - Axios Events

Rep. Underwood: Maternal and infant health linked to climate change

Rep. Lauren Underwood with Axios' Tina Reed.
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) with Axios' Tina Reed.

Outcomes around maternal health are linked to climate change, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Human caused climate change is also a public health crisis, as extreme weather events such as heat waves turn deadly, per Axios' Andrew Freedman. There is also the potential for vector-borne infectious diseases to spread outside their traditional range as the world warms.

  • Last year more than one-third of heat deaths were directly related to climate change, according to a recent study in Nature.
  • A study in October also found that climate change would allow more infectious diseases to spread more quickly.

Details: Underwood said exposure to extreme heat and air pollution are linked with "maternal and infant health outcomes."

  • She introduced the Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act to "end our nation's maternal mortality crisis."
  • She explained that the bill would provide "patients, providers and communities" [with] additional resources to be able to combat these health care and maternal and infant health impacts of climate change."

What she's saying: "When we think about climate change and the way that it's impacting our lives, it's not just economic, it's not just in our immediate environment, but it's certainly impacting our individual health and our public health care system," Underwood said.

Of note: Underwood has also introduced the Climate and Health Protection Act, which will give $100 million "to municipalities and counties and states across the country to help them prevent, prepare for and really respond to these climate change related impacts on their populations."

Watch the full event here.

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