FINDINGS: Poison Ivy Thrives as Planet Warms  Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page A05; Washington Post Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers reported yesterday. And a CO2-driven vine also produces more of its rash-causing chemical, urushiol, conclude experiments conducted in a forest at Duke University where scientists increased carbon-dioxide levels to those expected in 2050. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas — a chemical that traps heat similar to the way a greenhouse does — that is considered a major contributor to global warming. Poison ivy’s itchy, sometimes blistering rash is one of the most widely reported ailments, with more than 350,000 reported cases a year. Compared with poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger — and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported. Their study appears in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
No, I’m not talking about the great punk album by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, I’m talking about global warming getting up close and personal.