Saturday, May 27, 2006

Global Warming/ CO2 Emmissions Worsen Allergies

Allergies seem to worsen every year and many people every year join the millions that suffer from seasonal allergies. Some argue that it is our modern antiseptic lifestyle that accounts for the allergies. The "hygene hypothesis" contends that our immune systems are left with little else to do than attack allergens and that our lack of consistent exposure to allergens worsens the symptoms. This may be a contributing factor, but the solution is not to add diseases to the environment or to increase exposure to allergens.

In fact, the increase in allergens in recent years is documented and allergies have worsened rather than subsided as the hypothesis would lead one to predict. One variable corresponds highly with the increase in allergy sufferers; the increase in CO2 pollution.

Studies have found that not only does pollution in general lessen natural resistance to allergens, but CO2 emmisions specifically lead to higher pollen yields. Record levels of pollen are being observed and they have exponentially increased the percentage of the population impacted by allergies.

According to ABC news;

"this year really is a horrible year for allergies. In fact, this is perhaps the worst allergy season in 40 to 50 years!"


Doctors are reporting significant increases in allergy patients:

"many people who never have had an episode of asthma, even a mild one, are experiencing them this spring."


According to the Boston Globe, there is a link between global warming and the rise in allergies:

"both the increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising temperatures associated with global warming may increase the amount of pollen that ragweed and other plants produce."


" As carbon dioxide rises, so does the amount of pollen that ragweed produces. It could double over the next century if carbon dioxide levels increase as predicted."


The New York Times notes that many recent studies have demonstrated the link between CO2 emmisions and pollen production:

"A laboratory study done by USDA in 1998 and 1999 found that ragweed pollen counts went from 5.5 grams per plant at carbon-dioxide levels that existed in 1900 to 10 grams at current levels. At predicted CO2 levels in the year 2100, the pollen count would reach 20 grams per plant."
(Linked in the Title)

The link between CO2 emmisions and allergies is yet another reason to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Not only do allergies decrease the quality of life for millions of Americans, but they also reduce economic productivity. Perhaps there is some common ground to be shared with the business community on this issue. Afterall, they are not immune to allergies either and if the number of allergy sufferers doubles as predicted, it will substantially impact their bottom lines.


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