The potency of airborne allergens may be boosted by air pollution

It often appears as if allergic conditions are worsened by air pollution. The American Chemical Society has reported via Newswise on March 22, 2015, that air pollutants could boost the potency of common airborne allergens. Air pollutants associated with climate change could also be a primary contributor to the unparalleled increase in the number of people who are seen sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season.

Researchers have said that the gases nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone appear to set off chemical changes in certain airborne allergens which could increase their potency. It is this finding coupled with changes in the global climate conditions which may help explain why airborne allergies have been becoming more common.

Ulrich Pöschl, Ph.D., of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, says that it has long been suspected by scientists that air pollution and climate change are involved in the increasing prevalence of allergies across the world. However, understanding the underlying chemical processes which have been behind this phenomenon has proven to be elusive. Dr. Pöschl goes on to say his groups new research is beginning to suggest how chemical modifications in allergenic proteins happen and how this may affect allergenicity.

Christopher Kampf, Ph.D. says this research shows that chemical modifications of allergenic proteins may play a significant role in the increasing prevalence of allergies across the world. It is anticipated that with increasing levels of these pollutants there will be more of these protein modifications and these modifications will be seen to affect the allergenic potential of the protein.

The National Institutes of Health has written on the connection between air pollution and allergens. It has been observed that the prevalence of allergic diseases has been increasing in recent decades in the industrialized world. Researchers believe that exposure to environmental pollutants may partially explain this increased prevalence. There is actually significant scientific evidence to show that air pollution increases exposure to allergens. It is clear air pollution is a growing public health problem which may be making life more miserable than ever for people suffering from allergies.

via The potency of airborne allergens may be boosted by air pollution – National health |

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This entry was posted in Air Quality, Allergies, Asthma, Hayfever, Health Effects of Air Pollution and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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