Babies Born Under the Effects of Climate Change Could Earn Less Over Their Lives
Fetuses and babies exposed to higher temperatures may earn less over their lifetimes.
A recent study found that Americans exposed to even one more day of temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit as fetuses and infants made about $430 less over their lifetimes.
And though that may not sound like much, scientists report that climate change is getting worse, meaning fetuses and infants are unlikely to be exposed to just one day of high temperatures.
In fact, there are predicted to be 43 high heat days each year by the end of this century, according to the Atlantic.
The study examined data on births, weather, and income across 25 states and found that for each day of over 90 degree weather a person was exposed to as a fetus or infant, there was an associated $30 decrease in annual income, compared to someone who had not been exposed to such a day or who was born in an area with high access to air-conditioning.
While the study found a strong relationship between an increase in climate change and the small decrease in income, it does not have a definitive explanation for the connection.
However, Maya Rossin-Slater, one of the study’s leads and a health policy professor at Stanford told the Atlantic that the extra heat could pose an additional stress to fetuses that could affect their long-term health and cognitive development.
But climate change’s impact on children isn’t limited to the earliest stages of their lives.
According to UNICEF, as climate changes worsens causing more frequent severe weather events like floods, droughts, and hurricanes, children will be among the most affected.
Children living in poverty will be disproportionately affected by such impacts of climate change as they often do not have access to the resources to help them recover from devastating weather events and may live in areas that lack adequate infrastructure to withstand climate change events, UNICEF reported.
The opportunities, like education and healthcare, that will be lost to these children as a result of weather events worsened or brought on by climate change are likely more than $430 a year over their lifetimes.
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