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Pollen and Allergies in NSW


Impacts of climate change on aeroallergens and allergic diseases

This project has been funded by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust (Ref: 2011/RD/0049)

Climate Change poses a serious threat to our health. Increases in carbon dioxide concentration and temperature are resulting in increases in allergens such as pollen, and therefore threaten people with asthma and hay fever. This project aims to position New South Wales to adapt to this threat and avoid the harm it might cause by making recommendations for a New South Wales Aeroallergen Monitoring Network, and modification to local government planting and management policies regarding allergenic plants.

Asthma and hay fever are on the increase in Australia and New Zealand

Some plants produce large amounts of pollen which trigger asthma, hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and allergic conjunctivitis. 

There is evidence that climate change will affect pollen:

  • Increased temperatures may change pollen so that it can cause more of an allergic reaction
  • The amount of pollen that plants produce may increase with increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
  • Plants may extend their range so that allergenic plants may be able to survive in areas where they couldn't previously
  • Pollen season starting earlier and ending later

This all translates to people being increasingly exposed to pollen that causes asthma and allergies.