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New NOAA study estimates future loss of labor capacity as climate warms

News release: “A new NOAA study projects that heat-stress related labor capacity losses will double globally by 2050 with a warming climate. The impact will be felt the most by those who work outside or in hot environments, such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, factory workers, and others who will be forced to slow down due to increases in heat and humidity. This will be particularly apparent in mid-latitude and tropical regions, which include South and East Asia, North America, and Australia. The research, published online today in Nature Climate Change, uses existing occupational health and safety thresholds to establish a new metric to quantify a healthy, acclimated individual’s capacity to safely perform sustained labor under environmental heat stress. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and can also increase the risk of injuries. Age, obesity, and medical conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure can also put workers at greater risk of heat stress.”

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