The quality of the air we breathe directly impacts our health and symptoms
Pollen concentrations should be monitored and communicated before peak levels

PollenAllergy

Pollen are grains that plants release to the air in order to reproduce their species. This process is called pollination and is key in preserving the environment. But pollen is also an allergen which that provokes severe allergic reactions to many people.

The most important airborne pollen types in Europe are grass pollen. In Northern Europe, pollen of birch, alder and hazel are a significant contributor to the incidence of pollinosis, whereas cypress, parietaria and olive pollen are responsible for many cases of pollinosis in Southern Europe.

Pollen monitoring in Europe

Clinicians and allergic patients need to know the atmospheric pollen concentrations around Europe to manage allergy symptoms. Pollen information services in Europe really vary from country to country. Pollen monitoring is sometimes run by patients’ organisations, such as EFA Member Danish Asthma and Allergy Foundation who partly funds pollen information in Denmark. In other countries, meteorological offices and institutes are responsible for pollen monitoring, as is the case in Switzerland. France has set up the National Network of Meteorological Surveillance (RNSA), a private network. However, those are just few regulated examples, as most of the 600 sampling sites for pollen monitoring in Europe rely on voluntary work.

Accurate knowledge of prevalent aeroallergens can improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with pollen allergy. Pollen information is key as it enables a timely start of the preventive and symptomatic treatment of seasonal allergy problems. Still, there is no general obligation to monitor and communicate about the pollen situation in Europe; in contrast to air quality regulations.

To increase prevention and ease allergy symptoms of patients, we at EFA advocate for:

  • Including pollen monitoring as a Member States’ obligatory task within the European air quality framework legislation;
  • Securing and clarifying funding for pollen information and forecasting services in Europe.

Our advocacy activities on pollen are voiced and supported by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), an EU umbrella organisation of which we are full members.

 

EFA’s documents and activities in pollen monitoring

What's new - Pollen

EFA was invited to open the European Symposium on Aerobiology celebrated in Lyon from the 18th-22nd July. The event was organised by the European Aerobiology Society and aimed to share latest research ...

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[French version below] More Europeans will be allergic to pollen if no measure is taken to reduce exposure Brussels, 24 June 2015, ahead of INTERNATIONAL RAGWEED DAY – Climate change is a result o ...

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Latest research - Pollen

Early this year, EU-funded Project Atopica presented its final results: were published! The main aim of the project was to further understand how global and regional climate, land use and air quality  ...

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On the 18th-26th of May, world health leaders gathered in Geneva for the 68thsession of the World Health Assembly (WHA). Delegates at the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to address the heal ...

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Key Facts

24% of adults

 

40% of children
in Europe cannot travel freely due to the lack of information on atmospheric pollen concentrations in different regions in Europe