The Nineteenth Technical Meet of SEA (India) was held on 11th November 2008 on "Climate Change and Implications on Human Health - towards heat stress related impacts at workplace". This was a research presentation by Dr. Tord Kjellstorm, National Epidemiology Centre for Population Health (NECPH), Australian National University, Canberra and was jointly organised by SEA (India), Sri Ramachandra University and National Safety Council (Tamilnadu Chapter).
An introductory note issued during the presentation is reproduced as follows:
Dr. Tord Kjellstorm has been a researcher and teacher in environmental and occupational health for more than 35 years working in Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland. He worked as an epidemiologist at the WHO in Geneva for 12 years, and as Director of Global and integrated Environmental Health. He was responsible for the early work of the organisation on the health effects of climate change.In recent years he has carried out epidemiological studies of the health impacts of air pollution and climate variations and has participated in the health impact assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In all, Tord Kjellstorm has published more than 300 reports about public health, mainly the health effects of toxic metals, asbestos, air pollution and climate change. Dr. Kjellstorm is currently affiliated with the Australian National University and the Swedish National Institute of Public Health where he analyses relationships between public health, globalisation, urbanisation and environmental change. It is becoming increasingly accepted that climate change is one of the greatest environmental health challenges that the world faces. Globally, climate change can lead to a number of public health effects, including wider spread of vectorborne diseases, heat wave related mortality peaks, increased air pollution and lack of drinking water and food. One effect that should be obvious, but whose consequences still are not discussed too often, is the effect of increasing heat on our ability to work and carry out daily activities. Already parts of the world are so hot that work and other physical activities are restricted during parts of the year. This situation will get worse with climate change and it will also affect the health services, as not all work places can be air-conditioned.
This outlook has yet not caught the attention of decision makers and the general public. Dr. Tord Kjellstorm gave an account of new estimates of the potential health and economic impact that the heat effect on work ability might have. This will be in relation to climate change and the findings are dramatic and worrying. Dr. Tord made the presentation based on research models from India and therefore was interesting and easy to understand. Participants from SEA (India), Sri R a m a c h a n d r a University and National Safety Council (Tamilnadu Chapter) turned out in large numbers and participated actively. Earlier, Mr. S. Ulaganathan, Joint Secretary, SEA (India) welcomed the gathering and Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan, HOD, Environmental Health Engineering Department, Sri Ramachandra University introduced the speaker and his extensive research work carried out on the impact of climate change, mainly on the work force across the globe. Mr. V.R. Srinivasan, Secretary, National Safety Council, (Tamilnadu Chapter) proposed a Vote of Thanks. Large number of SEA members attended the function.
image02The Eighteenth Technical Meet of SEA (India) was held on June 26, 2008. Mr. W A Balakumaran, Patron, SEA India made a presentation on "Control of Chemical Accidents". The video presentation included many Case Studies from chemical industries. Members had active participation and discussions on the important findings and recommendations arising from each accident. Members requested SEA India to organise more such presentations on case studies, in order to learn from them and take appropriate corrective measures at their respective sites.
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