I have been monitoring my allergies over the past five years or more and slowly building up a profile of what could be causing them as well as eliminating factors that were not.
Over this time I have narrowed it down to a couple of main contributing factors: Air pollution by cars especially at busy roadsides or in towns and cities, and air pollution by agriculture via ammonia in fertilisers.
I have discovered that I do not suffer by the coast or in areas that are remote from any towns and cities, and also away from intensive agricultural practices which sadly are few and far between in our modern world.
Whilst there are some genuine allergies to nature, I wonder if most of our 'hayfever' symptoms are caused by the ammonia and increasing pollution from our industrial civilisation and its functions.
"Ammonia gas is lighter than air and will rise, so that generally it does not settle in low-lying areas. However, in the presence of moisture, ammonia can form vapours that are heavier than air. These vapours can spread along the ground or other low-lying areas."
This statement could explain why we suffer most in the spring, summer and autumn months and especially when artificial fertiliser is actively used on the fields. Higher humidity can usually be associated with higher temperatures due to the amount of water that can be stored in the air increasing sharply with warmer climates.
Fertiliser is often used in the spring time or when plants hit their peak growth cycle and therefore it makes sense that we would suffer during these prime periods and lesser so when winter approaches.
Given that ammonia can form vapours heavier than air in moisture rich environments, does it not also make sense that this is why we might suffer during our hotter summer months? - I have noticed personally that I suffer most when there has been rain fall and in the worst scenarios it is during or after hot humid days of rain.
"How does ammonia act in the body? - When ammonia enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing or skin contact, it reacts with water to produce ammonium hydroxide. This chemical is very corrosive and damages cells in the body on contact."
Symptoms of exposure to ammonia can include:
- eye, nose, and throat irritation
- breathing difficulty, wheezing, or chest pain
- pulmonary edema, pink frothy sputum
- burns, blisters and frostbite.
Exposure can be fatal at high concentrations.
The green revolution began in the 1960's where we started to adopt the intensive farming methods we know today using chemical fertilisers. In the 1970's we began to see a rise in 'hayfever' symptoms and it was recorded that 10% of the population at that time suffered from this allergy. A few decades later the figure of sufferers has increased exponentially which could tie in closely with our fast decreasing air quality that seems to peak in the summer months with the height of agricultural production. It would also make sense that pollen can play a part in this added irritation, and it is not the pollen itself that is allergic, but rather the particles of air borne pollution that is carried upon them.
THIS SHOULD BE ENOUGH: To cause alarm and think about what kind of an impact we are having upon this earth. Given the current climate crisis and coupled with our alarming acceleration into soil degradation, there are plenty of symptoms eating away at our conscience to hopefully trigger a tipping point before it is too late for change.
Please note: that these words are my thoughts and feelings on this topic and therefore are not related or associated with any organisation or should be taken for absolute truth. I could just as easily be wrong, but this is what I feel to be true at the moment of writing and it is subject to evolve through experience and future understanding.