Experts: Rising Heat-Related Deaths A Symptom Of Other Social Problems

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 12:37pm
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 8:38am

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Liza Kurtz and David Hondula
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Liza Kurtz and David Hondula.

How hot is too hot when it comes to indoor heat?

The numbers are in, and they are up: 190 people died in Maricopa County last year from heat-related causes. It’s the highest number since the county began recording such data back in 2006.

The findings were presented to the Arizona Corporation Commission last week as utility regulars decide on new rules for shutting off someone’s electric power. This comes after a Sun City West woman died after APS turned off her power on a 107 degree day because she owed $50 on her bill. As a result, regulators instituted a moratorium on power shutoffs over the summer.

For more on this, The Show sat down with two ASU scientists who have been studying heat-related deaths. David Hondula is an assistant professor in the ASU School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. And Liza Kurtz, is a doctoral student in Global Health in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

They began with their reaction to the newly-released data on this summer’s heat-related deaths.

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