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Mapping Allergenic Pollen Vegetation in UK to Study Environmental Exposure and Human Health

McInnes, R.N. and Hemming, D. and Burgess, P. and Lyndsay, D. and Osborne, N.J. and Skjøth, C. and Thomas, S. and Vardoulakis, S. (2017) Mapping Allergenic Pollen Vegetation in UK to Study Environmental Exposure and Human Health. Science of the Total Environment, 599. pp. 483-499. ISSN 0048-9697 Online: 1879-1026

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Abstract

Allergenic pollen is produced by the flowers of a number of trees, grasses and weeds found throughout the UK. Exposure to such pollen grains can exacerbate pollen-related asthma and allergenic conditions such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Maps showing the location of these allergenic taxa have many applications: they can be used to provide advice on risk assessments; combined with health data to inform research on health impacts such as respiratory hospital admissions; combined with weather data to improve pollen forecasting systems; or as inputs to pollen emission models. In this study we present 1 km resolution maps of 12 taxa of trees, grass and weeds found in the UK. We have selected the main species recorded by the UK pollen network. The taxa mapped in this study were: Alnus (alder), Fraxinus (ash), Betula (birch), Corylus (hazel), Quercus (oak), Pinus (pine) and Salix (willow), Poaceae (grass), Artemisia (mugwort), Plantago (plantain), Rumex (dock, sorrels) and Urtica (nettle). We also focus on one high population centre and present maps showing local level detail around the city of London. Our results show the different geographical distributions of the 12 taxa of trees, weeds and grass, which can be used to study plants in the UK associated with allergy and allergic asthma. These maps have been produced in order to study environmental exposure and human health, although there are many possible applications. This novel method not only provides maps of many different plant types, but also at high resolution across regions of the UK, and uniquely present 12 key plant taxa using a consistent methodology. To consider the impact on human health due to exposure of the pollen grains, it is important to consider the timing of pollen release, and its dispersal, as well as the effect on air quality, which is also discussed here.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: aeroallergen, allergenic pollen, human health, land cover, source map, species distribution
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Carsten Skjoth
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2017 07:25
Last Modified: 09 May 2017 07:52
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5457

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