US Climate and Health Alliance

NRDC releases new Extreme Heat Maps

October 24, 2017 Natural Resources Defense Council

Our analysis shows that nearly 210 million Americans—or two-thirds of the population—live in counties vulnerable to health threats from unexpectedly high summer temperatures, which can cause heat exhaustion and heatstroke or worsen preexisting cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. An estimated 1,300 excess deaths occurred annually during extreme summer heat from 1975 to 2004, and more than 65,000 people end up in emergency rooms each summer with heat-related illnesses.

Older adults, young children, people with chronic illness, lower-income communities, some communities of color, and people who work or exercise outdoors are among the populations most vulnerable to heat-related health effects. City residents also face a heightened risk because of warmer temperatures in cities from the urban heat island effect, caused by the mostly paved surfaces that absorb and re-radiate heat and the lack of green spaces and tree cover in these areas.

To see the full description and access the map, click here.