Could the weather and the climate cause the Food and Beverage industry to need to adjust? It already has. Around the globe, 2 billion people suffer from zinc and iron deficiencies, equaling about 63 million life-years annually, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health. Zinc deficiency can lead to an increase in infectious diseases because of its effect on the immune system, and anemia caused by low iron levels contributes to 20 percent of maternal deaths, according to the World Health Organization:
Just last year, the world crossed the dubious threshold of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By using CO2 jets placed around test plots, the study created growing conditions that approximate a future in which those levels creep upward of 500 parts per million. The grains and legumes grown in this environment had anywhere between 5 and 10 percent less iron, zinc, and protein too. The increase in nutritional deficiencies these drops could cause “represents the most significant health threat ever shown to be associated with climate change,” according to a Harvard press release.