An Australian GP has admitted he warns his asthma patients that their inhalers may be contributing to climate change.
Dr Brett Montgomery, who suffers from the condition himself, claims conventional gadgets do as much damage to the planet as 25,000 cars.
He urges asthmatics to stop using metered-dose inhalers, which emit chemicals that damage the ozone and spark rising temperatures.
They include norflurane and apaflurance, which are up to 3,220 times more potent than carbon dioxide – which bears most of the blame for global warming.
Dr Montgomery advises his patients with asthma to use dry powder inhalers, which have no spray. He believes the gadgets are ‘a little better’.
Dr Brett Montgomery, who suffers from the condition himself, claims conventional gadgets (left) do as much damage to the planet as 25,000 cars. Dr Montgomery advises his patients with asthma to use dry powder inhalers, which have no spray (right)
Writing in a piece for The Conversation, the senior lecturer in general practice at the University of Western Australiam said: ‘I am both a doctor and a person with asthma.
‘As an asthmatic, I’ve found changing inhalers to be easy — if anything, my dry powder inhalers are simpler to use.
‘And as a doctor, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how open my patients have been to this topic.
‘I worried people might find it weird their GP was raising environmental issues at their appointment, but my fears were unfounded.’
Dr Montgomery added: ‘If metered dose inhalers are a better choice for you, please don’t panic or quit your medicines.
‘These gases probably won’t be the biggest contributor to your personal carbon footprint. Asthma control is really important, and these medicines work really well.
WHAT WILL CLIMATE CHANGE DO TO OUR OCEANS?
Climate change will contribute to ocean acidification, according to the National Ocean Service.
This change can be attributed to higher levels of greenhouse gases emerging as a result of human activities.
Climate change affects the ocean in a variety of ways.
A new study has found that methane flares in a region off the coast of Norway are not caused by climate change as was previously assumed. However scientists are warning that the man-made effects of climate change are still persisting (file photo)
It can cause sea levels to rise and coral in the sea to be smothered.
Climate change can also affect the ocean’s currents and cause ‘murky’ water conditions with reduced amounts of light, according to the National Ocean Service.
The organization has provided the following tips for lowering the amount of damage done to the oceans:
- Eat sustainable seafood.
- Refrain from dumping household chemicals into storm drains.
- Drive as little as possible.
- Print less.
- Help with beach cleanups.
‘But consider changing if it’s an option for you — when it comes to reducing our footprint, every little bit counts.
Dr Montgomery wrote to several firms in Australia that market inhalers to ask about how many HFCs – hydrofluororcarbons – they contain.
Countries have already taken a step to limit emissions by agreeing to slash the use of HFCs, a powerful greenhouse gas used in refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners.
However, Dr Montgomery concluded, using assumptions and Government statistics, that they contribute around 116,000 tonnes of pollution each year.
Writing in The Conversation, he added: ‘That’s equivalent to the emissions of about 25,000 cars annually.
‘And this is surely an underestimate, as it doesn’t account for reliever inhalers sold over the counter.’
Climate change is already harming millions of people around the world and will become the biggest health threat of the 21st century, experts have warned.
Heatwaves are becoming more frequent as global temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes are increasing their range and crops are failing.
A 50-page report, written by 26 organisations and published in The Lancet last October, chronicled the impact of environment patterns on human health.
The UN’s weather agency said at the time that carbon dioxide had hit its highest level in potentially three million years.
The last time it was this high, sea levels were up to 65ft higher than they are now, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
The ‘record-breaking’ rise in carbon dioxide has been blamed on greenhouse gas emissions and the El Nino climate phenomenon.
WHAT SHOULD THE EU BE DOING TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM CLIMATE CHANGE?
In 2013, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) published a report which looked at the frequency of extreme weather events.
Since then, there has been a continued rise in how common these events occur.
In order to cope when such adverse weather conditions strike, they made recommendations as to how the EU can better protect its citizens from climate change.
The report claimed that in order to best deal with the issues, it is necessary to understand them first.
To understand how global warming will affect the extremes of weather, it is necessary to study and model them.
2. Heat waves
Across the European continent, heatwaves can vary massively and have vastly different impacts.
Understanding the nuances of these phenomena is key to weathering the storm.
3. Flood defence and early warning
Good practice in flood preparedness and for flood defence across Europe should be shared, including information about different responses to flood preparedness and flood warnings.
The report stated that the agriculture sector as a whole needed to improve.
Vulnerability to extreme weather and possible measures to increase resilience should be produced.
5. Strengthen the knowledge of climate change
The research found that it was crucial that we viewed climate change adaptation as a continuous process.
In order to do this sustained observations, analysis and climate modelling about the Earth are integral parts of a robust and flexible climate-change adaptation strategy.
It claims knowledge dissemination, innovation and building international relationships is key.
6. Changes in policies
Before adaptation can be achieved, there are several barriers which include those that are physical, technical, psychological, financial, institutional and knowledge-based.