US launches website to reduce health risks from extreme heat among vulnerable populations

July 28, 2022

|
Judicial monitoring

As American families struggle during record inflation and a looming recession, the Biden administration is celebrating the launch of a government website dedicated to heat and loaded with expensive federal resources. Specifically, the new site, heat.gov, aims to reduce the health risks associated with extreme heat by providing the public and decision-makers with timely information. It’s no surprise that the administration has assessed that minorities and the poor, as well as “very diverse” LGBTQIA+ communities, are disproportionately affected by heat-related health issues and therefore had this demographics in mind when initiating the project. The goal of the new taxpayer-funded venture is to create a nation free of heat-related illness and death. “For far too long, our most vulnerable populations have been those bearing the brunt of extreme heat,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. Press release announcing the website this week.

The new heat website is part of a National Integrated Health Information System (NIHHIS) created to identify extreme heat service needs, develop science-based solutions and empower communities to improve communications and capacity building. It will serve as the one-stop heat and health hub for the nation and is a priority of the President’s National Climate Task Force and his Interagency Extreme Heat Task Force. A multitude of federal agencies are involved, including the National Park Service (NPS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Health and Human Services (HHS). “Heat-related impacts can be avoided through planning, education and action,” according to the NIHHIS, which assures that its system “will help protect people from heat.”

Priority will be given to groups that are at disproportionate risk of heat-related illness or death, but are often overlooked. In fact, the new Heat website is strongly promoting a series of webinars to address the issue by providing an in-depth level of understanding of overlooked high-risk groups and the mechanisms that contribute to their increased risk. The first webinar is scheduled for late August and will focus on “unique risks and exposure to extreme heat” in LGBTQIA+ communities, which includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. “LGBTQIA+ communities are widely diverse by race, ethnicity, gender, ability, among others, and face social, economic, and health disparities,” according to the administration. “They are overrepresented in communities vulnerable to extreme heat, such as the homeless (for example, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT) and may face the compounding effects of air pollution, of COVID-19 and other disasters.” August webinar panelists will discuss “institutional barriers, unique vulnerabilities, intersectionality, on-the-ground policies and recommendations to mitigate risk and improve adaptive capacity of LGBTQIA+ communities, and ways to leverage of LGBTQIA+ resilience”.

The government’s new heat website includes other tools such as modern approaches to observing thermal inequalities in urban areas using ‘citizen science’ and machine learning to reveal where heat is most harmful. An urban heat island mapping campaign is incorporated to learn where action is needed to protect vulnerable populations now and in the future. A section dedicated to safety during extreme heat lists signs of heat-related illness, such as thirst, profuse sweating, dizziness, and offers safety tips such as eating well-balanced meals and limiting alcoholic beverages . A heat and health tool integrates environmental and health information to monitor the health effects of recent heat events. This includes infographics distributed via web and social media posts, email and other platforms to “reach heat-vulnerable audiences.” A section dedicated to people most exposed to oppressive heat includes children, the elderly and “pregnant people”. The section does not mention women once, opting instead for the new term adopted by the left, “pregnant people”, half a dozen times.

As American taxpayers are forced to fund all this nonsense, they are faced with soaring prices for gas, food and housing, not to mention 40-year high inflation and a likely recession in Street corner.

Sherry J. Basler