Surprising climate change effects: more fatal crashes, less food safety

Add deadly car crashes and food safety risks — and the officials overseeing them — to the list of things affected by climate change.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that in unusually hot or unusually cold weather, fatal crashes increase and police stops decrease. They also found that in extreme heat, food safety risks increase and inspections decrease.

Future global warming could increase government oversight during cooler seasons, according to the MIT study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The flip side, however, is that during hotter seasons, warming could reduce regulatory oversight while simultaneously increasing the hazards government workers are supposed to oversee.

"Hot temperatures are basically bad for human functioning," Nick Obradovich, co-author of the study and a research scientist at MIT's Media Lab, told CNN. This is true across a list of things scientists have studied: Sleep quality, mood, mental health, risk of suicide and work productivity are all "harmed by hot temperatures."

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