Environmental Health

Climate Change

Importance of Climate Change

The New Jersey Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) project collaborates to bring together information, data, and resources on climate change and extreme weather impacting New Jersey.   

Climate change adversely impacts human health in many ways. Rising temperatures will result in an increase in heat-related illnesses; an increase in extreme weather events; storms, flooding and heat will increase vector-borne and other zoonotic diseases. An increase in the frequency and severity of storms will result in increased numbers of injuries and carbon monoxide poisonings resulting from improper generator use during power outages. An increase in wildfires related to droughts and extreme temperature will contribute to poor air quality and increases in respiratory illnesses and other health conditions.

How will climate change impact NJ and its residents?

As temperatures increase, heat-related illnesses and some other health outcomes will increase

Storms & extreme weather will increase adverse health outcomes

Infectious diseases will increase

Top ^
Things You Can Do Right Now
  • Stay Cool: Learn how to stay safe when the weather is hot and humid. Should you need a place to go, cooling centers and warming centers are available throughout New Jersey. 
  • Eat Well: Consume more fruits, vegetables, and local foods and eat less processed food and animal products which can help you to stay fit and decrease the amount of energy used to produce and transport your food.
  • Choose Alternative Transportation: walk, bike, take mass transportation, or carpool. This can help you to exercise and decrease your carbon dioxide emissions and overall emissions footprint. 
  • Be Green at Home and at Work: Find ways to reduce your energy consumption.
  • Prepare: The NJ Office of Emergency Management provides information that will help you prepare for the unexpected. These resources can assist you in getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, and staying informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses. 
  • Support your Friends and Neighbors: During a storm, disaster, or extreme weather event, make sure your friends and neighbors are safe.
Top ^
Possible Public Health Impacts from Climate Change
  • increased number of people experiencing heat related illnesses;
  • worsening of respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and deaths due to extreme temperatures (more days over 90º F) or increases in ozone levels;
  • worsening of asthma and allergies from elevated levels of pollen due to more weed growth and longer pollen seasons;
  • an increase of infectivity from and frequency of vector-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, West Nile, and Zika;
  • increased frequency of damage to property and infrastructure due to flooding, storms, and sea-level rise;
  • threats to NJ’s water and food supply;
  • disruptions to food supply chain due to challenges created by extreme weather events causing damage to roads and/or waterways;
  • effects on food safety and nutrition caused by higher air temperatures increasing Salmonella cases and other bacteria-related food poisoning because bacteria grow more rapidly in warm environments;
  • increased number of people with mental and emotional stress in response to climate change and extreme weather-related emergencies, evacuations, and other lifestyle changes; and
  • injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events. 
Top ^
Vulnerable Populations

Some people and populations are more likely than others to be at risk from the effects of climate change. Some common vulnerable groups are:

  • individuals with pre-existing health conditions (e.g., asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or asthma);
  • older adults, especially those living alone and not using air conditioning or heat;
  • young children;
  • people with disabilities and/or mobility challenges;
  • people using medical equipment that requires electrical power or medications that require refrigeration;
  • people with mental health challenges;
  • people living in low-income communities or with limited education or English proficiency;
  • people of color or those classified as living in environmental justice areas;
  • people who work or exercise outdoors and;
  • people living in climate hazard areas, such as flood zones, coastal surge zones and urban environments which trap heat (e.g., heat islands).
Top ^
New Jersey Climate and Health Related Resources
Top ^
National EPHT Climate and Health Related Resources
Top ^
Additional Climate and Health Resources
Top ^
Last Reviewed: 7/17/2024