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Pathways Mechanisms for Advancing Health EquityEnvironment, Climate and Health

Law and Policy Pathways to Community Centered Protection from Extreme Heat

March 22, 2023


Heat is the number one cause of weather-related death in the U.S., but not all communities are impacted the same. Historically redlined communities have experienced higher heat exposure through urban heat islands. Outdoor workers paid low-incomes and Latino/a workers are especially vulnerable to poor health due to non-working days and lost income linked to extreme heat. Heat exposure contributes to heat illness, respiratory problems, and heat stroke and also adversely affects the Social Determinants of Health. Jurisdictions developing strategies to mitigate the impacts of heat exposure must consider community needs and ensure a just transition that benefits communities on the frontlines of these harms. Law and policy play an essential role in supporting community-centered processes and solutions to reducing the negative health impacts of heat and extreme heat.