If the financial crisis isn’t enough to make you itch, now there’s even more to worry about. Scientist claim there is a distinct possibility of rampant outbreaks of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac packing more itch power than ever before because of global warming.
The greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is considered a major player in global warming. Increased CO2 emissions are actively facilitating the flourishing of invasive nuisance plants like poison ivy. According to research, toxic strains of poison ivy are growing faster and bigger. Climate shifts are also affecting the spread of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
Research shows climate shifts could also change the growth patterns of certain plants. This is definitely not a good thing when those plants are irritants or allergens. Poison ivy grows almost everywhere in the United States and approximately 80% of all people are allergic to poison ivy and experience a red, bumpy, itchy and sometimes blistering poison ivy skin rash when they come into contact the plant’s carbon-based active compound.
Studies claim that with the more poisonous strains the resulting rashes and itching will certainly be worse. One such study at Duke University found that urushiol oil exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide is 30% more potent than oil exposed to common CO2 levels. In fact, some experts believe the toxicity of poison in plants like poison ivy has reached all time highs, much elevated from decades ago. Urushiol is present in all poison ivy plants at all times of the year, but the majority of reactions occur in the spring or early summer when poison ivy leaves are tender and easily bruised. The noxious substance is found on the plant’s leaves, stems, fruit, flowers and roots and can be picked up from contact with pets, tools and clothing, etc.