Saturday, October 30, 2004

Planes to land in William St

Contrary to serious concern about allergenic reactions to plane trees, 80 of which are set to be planted in William Street, Council has received advice that they do not cause serious allergy problems.

From a Clover Moore press release:

'Allergy experts at North Shore Hospital, Concord Hospital and the Woolcock Allergen Unit (Sydney University) confirmed that whatever is planted will be an irritant or allergenic for some people. Sheryl Van Nunen, Head of Department of Allergy, at North Shore Hospital, advised that Plane Trees are safer than many other trees as they do not produce comparatively high levels of pollen.

The consistent advice from experts was that Plane Tree pollen is "not on their radar as a primary allergen". Suspected Plane Tree allergic reactions were more likely to be caused by grass pollens, which people react to during the same season as plane trees are producing pollen.

Our research also found that some information being circulated in the community and to media is wrong or taken out of context. The following claims, in particular, need to be corrected:

* "Plane tree pollen counts of 3000 grain per cubic metre": This is a figure for the entire season. A study done in Homebush found an average daily count of 35 grains per cubic metre, well below the 80 grains commonly recognised as inducing rhinitis.

* "Plane trees have a three month pollination season": Plane Trees in Sydney have a maximum season of one to one and a half months.

* "Pollen is the number one cause of asthma and hay fever": Viral infection, rather than pollen, is the number one cause of asthma attacks.'

Funny then, how so many people are launched into coughing fits from the seeds (and their hairs) getting stuck in their throats. Coughing fits, I imagine, would trigger asthma attacks among sufferers. This doesn't seem to be 'on the radar', though.

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