Children's Environmental Health Symposium 2015 - Impacts of Climate Change on Children's Health

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Office of Environmental Health Assessment, along with the UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit*, and the UC Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment, sponsored a symposium on “Impacts of Climate Change on Children’s Health.” This is part of our continuing series of children’s health symposia conducted as part of the Children’s Environmental Health Program. The conference took place March 4 and 5, 2015 at the CalEPA headquarters, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, in the Sierra Hearing Room. 

The goals of this symposium revolved around setting the stage for dissemination of public health messaging and action.  The goals included:

  • to inform state agency scientists working in environmental and public health of the impacts of climate change on children’s health  
  • to facilitate specific actions by the State of California to improve and protect the  health of the state's children in a setting of future climate change
  • to create a knowledge base for later work developing actions that individuals, families, and communities can take to mitigate the acute health impacts of heat on pregnant mothers, infants, and children
  • to inform regulatory scientists and engineers, legislative staff, and the public about future long-term impacts on children related to air quality, including infectious diseases, and water quality and availability 
  • to understand the co-benefits for children in particular of reducing greenhouse gases, including reduction in associated air toxics, decreased reliance on fossil fuel and smart growth for more liveable cities


  • DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2015
    • Welcome and Overview of Symposium
      George Alexeeff, PhD, Director, OEHHA;
      Melanie Marty, PhD, Assistant Deputy Director, OEHHA Division of Scientific Affairs
  • SESSION 1. Climate Change and Children’s Health I

KEYNOTE: Overview of vulnerabilities of children to the health impacts of climate change, actions by NIEHS, and California as a microcosm
Presenter: John Balbus, MD, MPH., Senior Advisor for Public Health, NIEHS

Adaptation strategies for protecting children’s health from climate change. 

Presenter: Perry Sheffield, MD, Assistant Professor in Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York City

Epidemiologic studies of heat-associated preterm delivery

Presenter: Rupa Basu, PhD, MPH, Chief, Air Pollution Epidemiology Section, OEHHA

Changing climatic conditions and increases in infectious diseases risk for infants and children.
Presenter: Arthur Reingold, MD, Professor and Head of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, U.C. Berkeley


  • SESSION 2. Climate Change and Children’s Health II

Impacts of the human transformation of Earth's natural systems: putting climate change in context.
Presenter: Samuel Myers, MD, Senior Research Scientist, Harvard University Center for the Environment Health

Indicators of climate change in California: Tracking climate change trends and impacts.
Presenter: Carmen Milanes, MPH, Chief, Integrated Risk Assessment and Research Section, OEHHA

Climate change impacts on air quality and childhood asthma.

Presenter: John Balmes, MD, Professor, UC San Francisco School of Medicine; Director, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

California Department of Public Health activities on children’s health and climate change – Integrating children’s health into climate change planning. 
Presenter: Paul English, PhD, MPH, Scientific Adviser, Environmental Health Investigations Branch, California Department of Public Health


SESSION 3. Climate Change Mitigation in California and Children’s Health

  • Welcome and Summary of Day 1 Sessions - Melanie Marty, PhD, Assistant Deputy Director, OEHHA Division of Scientific Affairs

A Modest Proposal: Make the Tax on Carbon a Down Payment for Children.
Richard J Jackson MD MPH AIA(Hon) ASLA(Hon), Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Climate-smart conservation and human benefits.
Presenter: Ellie Cohen, CEO and President, Point Blue Conservation Science

Implications of climate change on water resources in California and mitigation strategies, including reuse
Presenter: Mark Bartson, PE, Supervising Engineer, Technical Operations Section, division of Drinking Water, California State Water Resources Control Board

AB 32 greenhouse gas reductions, national and international implications.
Presenter: David Mallory, PE, Manager, Climate Change Policy Section, Project Assessment Branch, Industrial Strategies Division, California Air Resources Board

Concluding remarks (George Alexeeff)

*The University of California, Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit is supported by the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) and funded (in part) by the cooperative agreement award number 1 U61TS000238-01 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).   

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