DENVER, Colo. -- There may be different opinions about the causes of climate change, but experts say there is no denying its existence.
Researchers say global warming is leading to larger plants, earlier and more robust pollination and, as a result, worsening allergies.
“With the combination of increased temperature and carbon dioxide, we are seeing a dramatic change, and allergy sufferers can probably feel that change,” said Richard Weber, MD, an allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver, and president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “We are experiencing longer allergy seasons, earlier onset and there is just more pollen in the air."
In a compelling publication, Weber cites a series of studies conducted on three continents to illustrate how the changing climate is affecting human allergies. In Great Britain, for example, researchers have identified 385 plant species that are flowering earlier than ever, advancing by nearly a week over the last decade. In the United States, ragweed pollen season has been extended 13 to 27 days; and short ragweed pollen has shown increases in both biomass and pollen production of between 61 and 90 percent.
“Pollen counts are going up, and in some cases, dramatically so,” said Weber.
Weber’s work was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology last spring.
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