NEWS

LDH receives $1.2M CDC grant for extreme heat protection

Staff Report

The Louisiana Department of Health will receive $1.2 million over five years to protect the state's workers and communities from extreme heat through a grant from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

According to a news release, the funding will be used to collaborate with local climate agencies, research centers and community organizations to access, analyze and interpret climate and health data; provide training and education on heat and health risks; and strengthen Louisiana communities’ climate adaptation and resilience.

The Office of Public Health’s Occupational Health Program leads the project in close collaboration with key climate and health agencies including Louisiana State Climatologist Dr. Barry Keim, LSU Department of Geology and Anthropology, LSU Health Sciences Center, National Weather Service, Southern Climate Impact Planning Program, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the RAND Corporation.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events. Louisiana has some of the most at-risk workers in the country due to high heat and humidity, a large percentage of workers employed in outdoor and physically demanding jobs, frequent natural disasters, and high levels of poverty and other social inequities.

During periods of high heat, Louisianans who work outdoors or in indoor settings without adequate air conditioning are at risk of dangerous heat exposure which can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke, injuries, multi-organ failure and, in extreme cases, death. Heat exposure is the leading cause of death among all weather-related phenomena. Extreme heat also leads to loss of productivity and labor capacity. These health and economic impacts have an enormous toll on workers, their families and communities.