If you’re living in the vicinity of Richmond, Va and have the distinct feeling than your allergies have never been worse, chances are it’s not your imagination. The Natural Resources Defense Council recently published a report entitled “Sneezing and Wheezing: How Climate Change Could Increase Ragweed Allergies, Air Pollution and Asthma,” which names and shames the worst-offending cities in the United States for those with seasonal allergies.
The first study of its kind to consider standard pollen-related seasonal allergies along with ozone pollution and the effects of climate change, the report singled out Richmond as sneeze city, USA.
“Americans deserve to breathe clean air, but today millions of us are sneezing and wheezing from allergies and asthma worsened by climate change-fueled ragweed pollen and ozone smog pollution,” said the study’s lead author, Juan Declet-Barreto.
This particular report didn’t mention the pollen ‘tsunami’ or ‘vortex’ routinely thrown around by dozens of other studies to date, but did suggest that a double-whammy of factors could be contributing to what’s already a miserable spring allergy season for millions.
And while most have focused on pollen counts and weather influences alone, this is the first report to link ozone and pollen to ongoing climate change.
“Scientific studies have also shown that our changing climate could favor the formation of more ozone smog in some areas and increase the production of allergenic pollen such as that released by the ragweed plant, the principal source of pollen associated with allergic rhinitis,” the report said.
Here’s a full rundown of what are now the semi-official sneezy and wheezy capitals of the United States:
- Oklahoma City
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- New Haven, Conn.
- Allentown, Pa.