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September 30 — More than 100 U.S. public health and professional organizations have issued a joint letter urging President Barack Obama, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, to allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

"Climate change is a serious public health issue," states the letter. "As temperatures rise, more Americans will be exposed to conditions that can result in illness and death due to respiratory illness, heat- and weather-related stress and disease carried by insects. These health issues are likely to have the greatest impact on our most vulnerable communities, including children, older adults, those with serious health conditions and the most economically disadvantaged."

The letter goes on to quote the latest assessment from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) : "Climate change poses unique challenges to human health.... There are direct health impacts from heat waves and severe storms, ailments caused or exacerbated by air pollution and airborne allergens, and many climate-sensitive infectious diseases."

The authors of the letter urge the President and Congress, "to support measures that will reduce these risks and strengthen the ability of our local, state and federal public health agencies to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change."

Issuing the letter were state and local organizations and health professionals from 35 states and numerous professional organization including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the American College of Preventative Medicine.

Read the complete letter here.