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Task force

Effects of Climate change on respiratory allergic diseases and on asthma prevalence

Task force on “Effects of Climate change on respiratory allergic diseases and on asthma prevalence”


It is now widely accepted that earth’s temperature is increasing and changes are also occurring in the amount, intensity, frequency and type of precipitation and in occurrence of extreme events.

As stated in the 2007 Working Group I Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

The effects of climate change on respiratory allergy are still unclear and current knowledge is provided by epidemiological and experimental studies on the relationship between asthma and environmental factors, like meteorological variables, airborne allergens and air pollution. The socio-economic burden of allergic diseases and their increasing prevalence, especially in developing countries, make a systematic analysis of possible effects of current climate change scenarios on asthma and atopy an hot topic for both EAACI and ERS.

Current knowledge about environmental factors affecting allergic airways diseases is still fragmentary and relationships between factors partly unclear. The need of a multidisciplinary approach might be one of the reasons why a comprehensive analysis of this issue is still lacking.

In our opinion, the document produced by the Task Force, might represent the first (mandatory) step to identify the interventions able to mitigate possible effects of climate change on asthmatic and atopic patients. The Position Paper might provide the scientific background for political interventions on both national and European levels.


The aim of the Task Force is to provide, through a multidisciplinary approach, a document containing: - a state of the art of environmental factors (and their inter-relationships) affecting asthma and atopic diseases - a comprehensive evaluation of the influence of weather variables on environmental factors and possible effects of current climate change scenarios - the possible effects of climate change on the prevalence of asthma and atopic diseases, on the basis of current hypotheses (“Hygiene Hypothesis”) and studies (effects of air pollution on lung development, etc) - the interventions able to mitigate negative effects.

Air pollution and Climate change
A French documentation:

Bulletin of the World Health Organization (BLT):
Global climate change: implications for international public health policy

Climate change and health
Fact sheet N°266
January 2010

Main Lancet publication on climate change:
1- Health and climate change. Jay M, Marmot MG.
Lancet. 2009 Sep 19;374(9694):961-2. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

2- Climate change and human health: impacts, vulnerability, and mitigation. Haines A, Kovats RS, Campbell-Lendrum D, Corvalan C.
Lancet. 2006 Jun 24;367(9528):2101-9.

3- Climate change and human health: present and future risks. McMichael AJ, Woodruff RE, Hales S.
Lancet. 2006 Mar 11;367(9513):859-69.

Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC):
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.

Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information. IPCC aims to reflect a range of views and expertise. The Secretariat coordinates all the IPCC work and liaises with Governments.

The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. It is open to all member Countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO. Governments can participate in the review process and plenary Sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. The IPCC Bureau Members including the Chair are also elected during the plenary Sessions.

Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.


Chairpersons: Gennaro D’Amato (Italy)
Isabella Annesi Maesano (France)

Secretary: Lorenzo Cecchi (Italy)

Isabella Annesi Maesano (Paris, France), ERS group coordinator
Francesco Forastiere (Rome, Italy)
Jon Ayres (Aberdeen, Scotland)
Bert Forsberg (Umea, Sweden)
Jordi Sunyer (Barcelona, Spain)

Gennaro D’Amato (Naples, Italy), EAACI group coordinator
Carlos Nunes (Portimao, Portugal)
Lorenzo Cecchi (Florence, Italy)
Heidrun Behrendt (Munich, Germany)
Akdis Cezmi (Davos, Switzerland)