09 June 2015
- Air Quality

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 changes impact human health, in particular ragweed pollen induced allergies.

Researchers found that air concentrations of allergenic ragweed pollen could quadruple in Europe by 2050. Climate change would be responsible for two thirds of this increase, the remaining third would be due to the colonization of the plant as a result of human activities.

These estimates show that it is now necessary to establish coordinated management of this invasive plant in Europe followed by long-term pollen and mapping the presence of plants. To confirm the estimates, it is necessary to establish long term monitoring of these pollens and map the evolution of the presence of plants in Europe.

Ragweed pollen is a highly allergenic plant, of North American origin. The main clinical manifestations of allergy caused by this plant are rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. The pollen peak of this plant, in August and September, extends the period of allergies up to autumn for all sensitive people. Several studies have shown that global warming will allow Ambrosia to settle in areas where the climate did not previously favour it, without quantifying the increase in concentrations of pollen in the air.

Through the study, researchers also determined that seed dispersal, whether natural or human, is responsible for a third of the increases in the concentration of pollen. Climate change is responsible for two thirds. On the one hand, it promotes the expansion of ragweed in North and North-East Europe in particular. On the other hand, its effect is expressed mainly by the increase in pollen production induced by the increase of CO2 and its favorable effect in the development of vegetation.

These results, obtained in the framework of the European project Atopica in which EFA has collaborated bringing the patient perspective, also pave the way for a new generation of short-term forecasting tools for pollen concentrations and should eventually allow for the inclusion of Ambrosia alerts for prevention against allergy.

Read the complete publication in the journal Nature Climate Change:

Atopica has created playful materials to understand ragweed and allergies that can be accessed in their website:

For more information about the Atopica project visit:

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