The epidemiological implications with respect to climate change and public health (e.g., shifts in disease vectors) are beginning to be acknowledged. Less recognized however, are the potential links between climate, plant biology and public health. In addition to being affected by climate (e.g., temperature determines plant range), carbon dioxide (CO2) represents the raw material needed for photosynthesis and its rapid increase in the atmosphere is expected to stimulate plant growth. While there are a number of means by which plant biology intersects with human health (e.g., plant nutrition), one of the most widely recognized is aerobiology; specifically, the ability of plants to both produce pollen and to serve as a substrate for molds/fungi (e.g., sporulation). The current review represents an initial attempt to coalesce what is known regarding the likely impacts of climate/CO2 on plant pollen/fungal spores and associated allergic disease that are, or could be, specific to the Northeast United States. Although the current results indicate a number of potentially unfavorable effects, we wish to stress that the current data are based on a small number of experiments. Additional data are crucial to both reduce epidemiological uncertainty and to derive a robust set of mitigation / adaptation strategies.
- Carbon dioxide,
- Hay fever,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/christine_rogers/2/