Climate change may be increasing NJ allergy problems, Rutgers expert says
A New Jersey researcher says milder winters and warmer seasonal air associated with climate change are having an impact on allergies by spawning more pollen.
Leonard Bielory, a researcher at Rutgers University, says they find climate change is bringing out earlier and more intense releases of pollen.
"Climate change has an impact in New Jersey in changing the amount of pollen being released over a different period of time," he said.
And that pollen is being felt — and suffered — by the usual suspects. Bielory says pollen clearly has an impact on allergic asthma. Nine out of 10 children who have asthma have allergy triggers.
We have three allergy seasons in New Jersey:
1) The tree season, which is March, April and May, going into June.
2) The grass season, which is May and June and sometimes going into July.
3) And then the ragweed season that comes into the summer and goes into the first frost.
Bielory says experiments show increased carbon dioxide and temperature levels are causing the release of higher levels of pollen in grass and other plants.
"When you mix the pollen with high humidity and high temperature, I call that the witches brew."
Bielory says the general population can address their allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medications. For others, however, continued pollen exposure can lead to more heightened sensitivity to pollen, which just worsens the next year.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at Joe.Cutter@townsquaremedia.com