Department of Environmental Sciences

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Seminar Abstracts
Environmental Sciences Seminar Abstract            

  Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease
Leonard Bielory
Rutgers University

Allergic illness (asthma, sinusitis, and allergic rhino-conjunctivitis) is responsible for a substantial proportion of health care costs in the United States and data from National Center for Health Statistics/NHANES studies indicate that the prevalence of allergic airway disease has increased over the last 30-40 years. Although the underlying causes of the rising trend of allergic airway disease are not clear, the problem appears to be multifactorial with links to various climate factors (e.g., temperature, precipitation, rising CO2 concentrations) and their impact on the production and distribution of aerobiological allergens (pollen and mold). Because the rise has been too fast to implicate a genetic basis for change, various environmental factors have been proposed and include the diet, maternal smoking, "hygiene hypothesis," specific pollutants, and climate change. The presentation will provide background to existing data that supports the potential impact of climate change on allergic airway disease.

Last updated: 10/29/2009