RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Spending time in the great outdoors has been scientifically proven to lower stress—that is, unless you wander off into a patch of poison ivy. More than 50 percent of people are allergic to the colorless, odorless oil called urushiol, which is found in the leaves and other parts of poison ivy. Coming in contact with the oil can cause an incredibly irritating rash that can linger for up to three weeks. Poison oak and poison sumac also produce the itch-generating oil.
|Rash on the rise. Each year between 25 and 40 million people in the U.S. come down with a poison ivy rash. And climate change is going to make the matter all the worse. Poison ivy will thrive at higher levels of CO2; it’s already growing nearly 150 percent faster and has had a 30 percent increase in toxicity since the 1950s.|
Published on: June 4, 2009
Updated on: May 18, 2010