Can weather stripping and caulk help you get healthy?
The answer is yes, according to research compiled and released this week by the health experts and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation. The “Health Impact Assessment on Coal and Clean Energy Options in Kentucky” is a review of health and scientific data and perspectives from Kentuckians on the specific health impacts – positive and negative – associated with our energy policy options. Health impact assessments (HIAs) are designed to be tools for government decision makers and other stakeholders when considering public policies that affect our health, but occur outside of the health sector.
It turns out that energy efficiency and renewable energies from sources like solar, wind and hydro could have both indirect and direct benefits to public health. Much of the benefits of efficiency and renewables come in the avoidance of pollution created and released from fossil fuels and their chemical byproducts; pollution that is linked to heart and respiratory diseases, birth defects, developmental disabilities and even tooth decay. By contrast, wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams do not release any pollution. But some direct benefits include improved general health and increased productivity from home weatherization and less eyestrain, headaches and other illnesses from energy efficient lighting.
With health care costs are high and getting higher, and Kentucky is among the least healthy states, we should be looking for every opportunity to improve our health. Recent polling data shows that Kentuckians want our legislators to prioritize public health improvements. Energy efficiency and renewable energy reduce pollution that makes us sick, and that’s a powerful reason to support clean energy policies for our state.
Let’s encourage Kentucky legislators to consider clean energy policies as if our health really matters…because it does!
You can find the HIA at: http://kyenvironmentalfoundation.org.