Pollen Increases and Allergy Season Highs Due To Pollution and Global Warming by Dena Ventrudo

It seemed this year, that as soon as the snow melted I woke up sneezing, eyes watering, and wheezing worse than I have any previous allergy season in the last 23 and half years of my life.

I have always suffered from allergies, and have sampled seeminlgly every anti-histimine and decongestant out there. This season, however, nothing is working, because the pollen count and other allergens are that high – and I know I’m not alone.

Tons of people have been complaining that their allergies are terrible this year. My father has been a physician all my life, and he said himself that this is one of the worst allergy seasons he’s seen so far.

So what does it all mean? Are the flowers and plants planning a rebellion? No, not quite, but it seems the Earth is.

According to Healthwatch with CBS News and WebMD,

“Just last week, Duke University researchers reported that rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide will likely fuel the growth of a more poisonous form of poison ivy…

Researcher Christine A. Rogers, Ph.D., tells WebMD that global warming is already having an impact on the growing season, with the arrival of spring occurring earlier in most places. This, combined with an increase in carbon dioxide levels, will result in longer, more intense allergy seasons in the future, she says. “The clearest signal of global climate change is the earlier onset of spring,” she says. “Our goal was to examine the interaction between the lengthening of the growing season and the increase in carbon dioxide.” More Carbon Dioxide = More Pollen In their effort to do this, Rogers and colleagues grew ragweed seeds in climate-controlled greenhouses and carefully measured pollen production. The air we now breathe has about 350 parts of carbon dioxide per million parts of air. Experts expect carbon dioxide levels to double within the next three to six decades, so the researchers studied ragweed growth at both 350 parts and 700 parts carbon dioxide per million parts of air. ” (Source )

And according to an article by John Lacey, “In addition to producing more allergens — and possibly more allergy sufferers — such a trend could alter competitive relationships among different plants, encouraging the growth of weedy species .

“Rising carbon dioxide levels may skew the whole ecological community by affecting reproductive power,” he said. The study highlights the need to reduce carbon dioxide levels. “Carbon dioxide is greater than it has been for 420,000 years,” Epstein said. From that time until as recently as the Industrial Revolution, it was only 280 parts per million of air.”

While politicians turn everything into a debate, some things remain clearly fact:

“Center for Health and the Global Environment co-director Paul Epstein, M.D., tells WebMD that while the political debate over global warming continues, it is clear that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising, caused by the burning of fossil fuels. “There is no question about this within the scientific community,” he says. ” It is a fact.” Plants grow larger and use water more efficiently when exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide. Because of this, Epstein says, some people believe increasing levels may be a good thing, resulting in better crops and a greener planet. “But we are beginning to see some health effects of carbon dioxide build up that we couldn’t have foreseen even a few years ago,” he says. “It is the opportunistic plants like poison ivy and ragweed that thrive. These species are gaining a foothold because of carbon dioxide.” (Source )

Dena VentrudoWe need to do something now. Imagine what life will be like for our children? Our grandchildren? In thirty to sixty years from now carbon dioxide levels are projected to be at 700! Not only will things like allergies be a serious, d ebilitating affliction, its going to get harder and harder to breathe!

This article isn’t just about plants. Its about taking steps NOW and discontinuing the actions that are going to inevitably cause irrepairable damage.

Please Help:

Calculate your carbon dioxide output

grist.org

idealbite.com

treehugger.com

StopGlobalWarming.org

Natural Resources Defense Council

Greenpeace on Global Warming

Global Warming- in plain English

Global Warming- Undo It

Global Waming.org

Works Cited: www.albionmonitor.com/0203a/globalwarmingpollen.html

www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/07/health/webmd/main1690993.shtml

by Dena Ventrudo
Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer. Dena volunteered as an environmentalist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) for three years serving as a project leader, an intern, and a board representative. She has a BA in Liberal Studies.