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7 out of 10 Doctors: Climate Change Is Already Harming Patients’ Health

A new survey of more than 900 American Thoracic Society members finds that the majority of doctors believe climate change is already negatively affecting the health of their patients.

Two-thirds of the American people believe climate change is a serious problem, and that the government should take action to address it. It shouldn’t be surprising that our nation’s doctors do, too — nearly 90 percent of them.

Today, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) will hit the halls of Congress to educate our representatives about a new survey of more than 900 ATS members, which found the majority of doctors believe climate change is already negatively affecting the health of their patients. In fact, 77 percent of respondents reported that increases in air pollution due to climate change are worsening the severity of illnesses in their patients, and they expect these health impacts will further increase in the future.

ATS members also indicated that their patients are experiencing other climate-related health problems — including injuries due to severe weather, allergic reactions, and heat-related impacts. These findings are in line with the results of a survey of the National Medical Association’s members last year, which also found that the sick, elderly, and people living below the poverty line will be disproportionately impacted by climate change. 

Already, 1 in 10 children in the U.S. suffers from asthma. Heat-related health problems are growing. Pollen concentrations are up. Rising temperatures are only going to bring more smog, more asthma, and longer allergy seasons that put more Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital.

As the evidence shows us, we can’t stand on the sidelines and be the first generation to fail at that most basic human instinct — to leave our children a safer, more prosperous world. 

That is why we are so committed to executing the President’s Climate Action Plan.

To learn more about how the Obama administration is acting on climate, visit