EPA-funded study: Urban trees associated with increased childhood asthma; Says global warming may be more important than child health

Yum, this is among the best tasting irony we’ve ever had.

From the study in Environmental Health Perspectives:

Conclusions: Results did not support the hypothesized protective association of urban tree canopy coverage with asthma or allergy-related outcomes. Tree canopy cover near the prenatal address was associated with higher prevalence of allergic sensitization to tree pollen. Information was not available on sensitization to specific tree species or individual pollen exposures, and results may not be generalizable to other populations or geographic areas…

Although asthma and allergy in children are important urban health concerns, our findings should be considered in the context of considerable environmental benefits of urban tree cover such as carbon sequestration, heat island reduction, energy conservation, and storm water management (McPherson et al. 1997; Nowak 2007) as well as potential health benefits suggested by other studies (Donovan et al. 2011; Lovasi et al. 2011, 2012a; Mitchell and Popham 2008). Further study is needed to elucidate the influence, if any, of the urban forest on allergic and respiratory illness. Future research should examine spatial variation in tree species, pollen exposure, and air quality and their link to health across diverse populations and geographic settings.

4 thoughts on “EPA-funded study: Urban trees associated with increased childhood asthma; Says global warming may be more important than child health”

  1. It was just one tree, and Sonny hit it first. A Zimmerman-Martin thing, kind of.
    But -but – trees are for the children! It saves just one life!
    Oh, yes, tasty irony indeed.

  2. The universal study conclusion:

    “Further study is needed”

    You’d think they were all studying the same thing, since they all get the same result.

    But seriously, why is further study needed? They said themselves that nobody is going to anything, in fact, they recommended NOT doing anything, so what is the point of more study?

    [Okay, okay, I know. They’ve got one more semester til they get their masters, so they need to push this fruit cart a while longer.]

  3. An association, indeed. Of a socio-economic nature, as usual. Tree canopy cover near the prenatal address indicates long-established and usually wealthy circumstances, better hygiene, lower exposure to pathogens and more prevalent allergies. (In a parallel thread, it is also associated with lower crime rates, but that’s not important; just another bunk association). I have seen towns eradicate their trees “to combat asthma and allergies” and “to improve interior lighting”, with zero results. Some of these experiments are close to 30 years old now — solid enough to confirm H0.

    Tree pollen just happens to be a very versatile allergen, regardless of the underlying mechanism that causes allergy. I am allergic to grass pollen, for the same reasons that other people are allergic to tree pollen, animal fur or drugs. Our trouble-free childhood left us without a chance to develop a balanced immune system.

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