MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -The number one reason for allergies is pollen and we are all familiar with the yellow coating we see on our cars during certain times of the year. According to studies one ragweed plant can produce a billion grains. In fall grasses and weeds become the main source of allergies and now there are studies that climate change is causing a rise in pollen and an increase in allergy rates and severity.
One study in 2019 in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health studied airborne pollen levels over several decades and in 17 locations abroad. The studies were done in Europe, Canada, the US and Iceland. Over two-thirds showing an increase in pollen and pollen seasons were found to be longer. The longer seasons were linked to above average temperatures. Studies found that in areas where spring arrived early there was a 14% uptick in hay fever and there was also increase where spring arrived late. Researchers believed that this was due many species releasing pollen all at once.
Our increase use of fossil fuel, oil, gas, and coal is allowing more and more CO2 into the air. CO2 fuels photosynthesis. Higher amounts of the gas can act as a powerful fertilizer, so certain plants can produce more pollen. Another study tested to see how specific grasses would react when exposed to different levels of CO2 in the lab. The study found that plants growing in environments with CO2 levels of 800 ppm produced double the amount of pollen than those exposed to 400 ppm. The researchers estimate that airborne pollen levels are set to double in the future.
According to some doctors, in cities where you have higher CO2 levels, warmer temperatures, and higher pollution levels, this could make allergens more potent.