Dr. Iain Lake, the paper's lead researcher, said in a statement, "Pollen allergy is a major public health problem globally but it has not been known what sort of an impact climate change will have. This is the first study to quantify what the consequences of climate change on pollen allergy may be."
The investigation looked at climate change's effect on ragweed plant distribution, plant productivity, pollen dispersal, and the resulting allergic impact. As a part of the study, they created maps of estimated pollen counts and combined them with population maps and research on allergy levels within those populations. "Our research shows that ragweed pollen allergy will become a common health problem across Europe, expanding into areas where it is currently uncommon," says Dr. Lake. "The annual economic burden of allergic disease in the EU is already estimated at between €55 billion and €151 billion so increases on this level will bring a hefty price tag.
"Management of this invasive plant could reduce the amount of people affected to about 52 million (from an estimated 77 million in Europe), while a scenario which sees very rapid plant invasion would increase the amount of people affected to around 107 million. The control of ragweed is important for public health and as an adaptation strategy against the impacts of climate change."