Evidence of climatic health hazards on the general population has been discussed in many studies but limited focus is placed on developing a relationship between climate and its effects on occupational health. Long working hours with high physical activity can cause health problems for workers ranging from mild heat cramps to severe heat stroke leading to death. The paper presents the possible risk of heat hazard to outdoor workers, using the example of Warsaw. The heat stress hazard, defined by WBGT values above 26 and 28°C and UTCI above 32 and 38°C, is assessed from two perspectives: its spatial distribution on a local scale and its temporal changes during the 21st century due to climate change. City centre and industrial districts were identified as the places with the greatest heat stress hazard. The number of heat stress days in a year (as predicted for the 21st century) is increasing, meaning that heat-related illnesses are more likely to have a direct impact on workers’ health.
The health of individuals and societies depends on different factors including atmospheric conditions which influence humans in direct and indirect ways. The paper presents regional variability of some climate related diseases (CRD) in Poland: salmonellosis intoxications, Lyme boreliosis, skin cancers (morbidity and mortality), influenza, overcooling deaths, as well as respiratory and circulatory mortality. The research consisted of two stages: 1) statistical modelling basing on past data and 2) projections of CRD for three SRES scenarios of climate change (A1B, A2, B1) to the year 2100. Several simple and multiply regression models were found for the relationships between climate variables and CRD. The models were applied to project future levels of CRD. At the end of 21st century we must expect increase in: circulatory mortality, Lyme boreliosis infections and skin cancer morbidity and mortality. There is also projected decrease in: respiratory mortality, overcooling deaths and influenza infections.
The paper presents essential results of multidisciplinary research dealing with differences in lighting conditions (natural and/or artificial) and their possible influence on melatonin secretion studied in Fukuoka (Japan) and in Warszawa (Poland). Several characteristics of lighting were considered (intensity of global 0.4-3.0 μm, visible 0.4 0.76 μm solar radiation, illuminance (lux), peak irradiance (μW∙cm−2∙nm−1), Color Corresponded Temperature (CCT, K) and peak wave length (nm)). Diurnal cycle of melatonin secretion was examined at volunteers (Poland - 15, Japan - 18), young male and female (21-33 years). Saliva samples were collected at 3h intervals, beginning at 10:00h on Thursday with subsequent sampling times at 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, 22:00 and at 01:00, 04:00 07:00h on Friday. Melatonin concentration (MC) was measured by commercials ELISA kit tests.
During the last century about 100 indices were developed to assess influences of the atmosphere on human being. However, most of them have not close relationships with physiological reactions in man. In 1999 International Society of Biometeorology established special study group do develop new Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI). Since 2005 these efforts have been reinforced by the COST Action 730 (Cooperation in Science and Technical Development). In February 2009 the Action was terminated and UTCI was developed.
The new UTCI index represents air temperature of the reference condition with the same physiological response as the actual condition. The index base on Fiala model that is one of the most advanced multi-node thermophysiological models and include the capability to predict both whole body thermal effects (hypothermia and hyperthermia; heat and cold discomfort), and local effects (facial, hands and feet cooling and frostbite). The model consists of two interacting systems: the controlling active system; and the controlled passive system. The assessment scale of UTCI bases on the intensity of objective physiological reactions to environmental heat stress in wide range of weather and climates. The index can be applicable in various research, for example in weather forecasts, bioclimatological assessments, bioclimatic mapping in all scales (from micro to macro), urban design, engineering of outdoor spaces, consultancy for where to live, outdoor recreation and climatotherapy, epidemiology and climate impact research.
The paper presents thermophysiological principles of UTCI as well as some examples of its application to assess bioclimatic differentiation of Europe.