From the “weather is not climate”

department and AGU

WASHINGTON, DC — More children could wind up in hospital emergency rooms suffering from allergy-induced asthma if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and cause longer oak pollen seasons, according to a new study.

The new research finds that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase through the end of this century, the oak pollen season in some areas could extend by up to eight days. People with oak pollen allergies, particularly children, will have longer exposure to pollen that can induce allergic asthma. That could increase the associated hospital emergency room visits for allergic asthma by 10 percent in the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast combined, the new study finds.

Allergic asthma associated with oak pollen sends more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms every year, and the increase in pollen could result in a 10 percent increase in hospital ER visits by 2090, according to the study’s authors.

These additional ER visits would add an estimated $10.4 million to the $346.2 million cost that would be expected under baseline conditions through 2090, according to the new study published in GeoHealth, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

“We found that the severe climate change scenario had a substantial impact on public health,” said Susan Anenberg, an environmental scientist at Environmental Health Analytics, LLC, in Washington, D.C., and lead author of the new study.

The study is part of a growing area of research on the health impacts of climate…