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.