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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Global Warming Strikes Home

This morning:
Global climate change may soon make our planet a much itchier place.

Rising levels of carbon dioxide—a so-called greenhouse gas that traps heat within Earth's atmosphere—can fuel booming poison ivy growth, a new study reports.

Even worse, the rash-inducing vines may become more potent.

Working in a Duke Univerity-owned forest near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, researchers used a system of carbon dioxide-pumping pipes to create atmospheric CO2 levels that were some 200 parts per million higher than the current norm.

Many global warming models predict that such levels will be a reality by 2050. (Related: "Global Warming Could Cause Mass Extinctions by 2050, Study Says" [April 12].)

Poison ivy growth surged some 150 percent in the carbon dioxide-rich forest plots.

This afternoon, e-mail from my mother:

Subject: Poison Ivy

That's what I have on my face. First I soak today with milk/water compresses and if it's not better tomorrow, ---prednizone.

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