Thursday, June 11, 2009

Half of us will suffer from hay fever by 2060, expert claims

Jane Kirby in the Scotsman: More than half of us could be suffering from hay fever by 2060, a researcher has claimed. Professor Jean Emberlin said the number of people with the condition will shoot up from the current level of around 24 per cent of the population to around half. Climate change is playing a role by altering the length of pollen seasons for trees and plants, she believes.

…"Wetter winters will provide a soil moisture store for early growth of grass in the spring," she said. "This will tend to increase the amount of pollen produced on the plants. Drier weather in spring and summer will give more days with good conditions for pollen dispersal, leading to more high count days and severity of season."

Prof Emberlin, from the national pollen and aerobiology research unit at the University of Worcester, argues that climate change will also increase the number of plants to which people are allergic.

Other countries with similar changes have seen an increase in allergy-producing plants such as ragweed and pellitory of the wall. Increasing air pollution will also play a role, she will add.

…In 2060, her lowest estimate is that 36 per cent of the population will suffer from hay fever and her highest is that 71 per cent will. She thinks a median figure is that 54 per cent of the population will suffer from hay fever by 2060….

Photo from the Centers for Disease Control

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