La Isla Network in TIME: Chronic Kidney Disease Is Poised to Become the Black Lung of Climate Change

La Isla Network and CEO and co-founder Jason Glaser are featured in a new article by Aryn Baker for Time.

The same way coal miners’ black lung signaled troubling occupational hazards in mining, chronic kidney disease of non-traditional cause (CKDnt) is poised to become the principal occupational disease among outdoor workers that is directly driven by the heat effects of climate change.

CKDnt is different from the chronic kidney disease (CKD) with which most people might be familiar. First, while CKD is driven by diabetes, hypertension, old age and the like, CKDnt is driven by exposure to heat in labor-intensive occupations. For this reason, CKDnt is more common among young, healthy male workers, which is the disease’s second distinction from CKD.

CKDnt was first identified in El Salvador, then similar epidemics were found in Mesoamerica. Finally, it was identified in South Asia, and especially in Nepali migrant workers.

Now, climate change—i.e. human emissions of carbon into the atmosphere—is exacerbating heat, and it will continue to do so.

This poses the risk of a global pandemic of CKDnt driven by extreme heat, strenuous work and poor labor protections.

That’s why La Isla Network has been generating evidence-based protocols that protect worker health and generate an ROI for businesses since 2011. In May this year, La Isla Network launched its Let’s Bring It Home! campaign to raise awareness of the issue and bring to the US and EU its tried-and-true protocols.

On the matter, Glaser said, “It’s past time to implement proven occupational health programs to all workers and industries being harmed by heat stress and its consequences in the United States and European Union. La Isla Network has shown that these programs reduce harm, increase productivity and provide an ROI to employers. So what’s the hold up?”

The health of workers, businesses and global supply chains cannot wait. That’s why La Isla Network is urging public and private partners to allocate funding for three key goals:

  1. Worker protection protocols like the one that La Isla Network provides to its clients,
  2. Surveillance, documentation and dissemination of information on heat-driven illness incidences into a public health database,
  3. Training for doctors and nurses to be able to recognize potential CKDnt.

La Isla Network is the leading global research nonprofit and consultancy dedicated to improving the resiliency of workforces and supply chains in the face of changing climates.

We help organizations with our proven Triple-A model of success: Assess the health and safety, regulatory, and organizational management landscapes of your organization to determine existing successes and areas for improvement; Address areas of improvement and provide protocols for long lasting cultural change in all levels of your organization, from frontline workers to upper management; Assist in the implementation of our evidence-based recommendations and ensure that they last. Through the implementation of our evidence-based protocols, the organizations we work with reduce harm and protect worker health, generate a return on investment, increase productivity, mitigate liabilities and achieve sustainability goals and strengthen brand positions.

For more information, contact La Isla Network via email at in**@la***********.org.

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