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April 23, 2018

Video: The chemistry of poison ivy


Leaves of three, let them be, right? But what happens when you get covered in poison ivy and can’t stop scratching? Jennifer Novotney, winner of the 2014 Chemistry Champions science communications competition, breaks down what it is about that dreaded vine that makes us so itchy. Reactions also offers up a remedy for the poison ivy’s itch using the power of chemistry. Credit: The American Chemical Society


Leaves of three, let them be, right? But what happens when you get covered in poison ivy and can’t stop scratching?

Jennifer Novotney, winner of the 2014 Chemistry Champions science communications competition, breaks down what it is about that dreaded vine that makes us so itchy.

Reactions also offers up a remedy for the poison ivy’s using the power of .

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Scientists weed out pesky poison ivy with discovery of killer fungus

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Video: The chemistry of poison ivy

Poison ivy It's getting stronger and tougher

Mark Laliberte is used to getting poison ivy, but the reaction he suffered in July was the worst ever.

The 37-year-old Candia man was clearing brush on his property when he slipped into some bushes.

“I didn’t see it, but once I fell into it, I knew it was poison ivy. I ran inside and showered, but it was too late. It was all over my face and neck, particularly on my left side,” he said.

Beth Almon’s doctor told her she has the worst case of poison ivy she’s ever seen. After battling the itch for three weeks, Almon is now on her second batch of Prednisone, a drug used to treat severe allergic reactions.

“This year, for some odd reason I can’t get rid of it out of my system,” said Almon, 32, of Raymond.

The reason for the severe cases may have something to do with changes in the poison ivy plant caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, experts say.

Poison ivy is thriving and becoming much more potent, according to Lewis H. Ziska, a research weed ecologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ziska has studied the effects of carbon dioxide on plants and has found that it’s changing the chemistry of the urushiol oil in poison ivy, making it more toxic and more likely to cause a skin reaction.

His research looked at how plants react to more sunlight appearing in forests that have become fragmented, especially in urban areas. Ziska found that poison ivy flourishes, spreading faster and becoming more potent.

“Poison ivy tends to do better than most of the plant species we looked at. It’s able to take in the additional carbon dioxide and convert it into additional growth,” he said.

While she hasn’t seen more poison ivy sufferers than usual, Dr. Ellen Bernard of Epping Regional Health Center said there are treatments available to ease the itching and clear things up. Topical steroids can be used, but more severe cases may require an oral steroid.

Susan Chadwick, director of marketing at Derry Medical Center, said she takes steps to avoid poison ivy, but still ended up with a case in July.

“I’m very sensitive to it, so I try like the devil to avoid it,” said Chadwick, whose colleague also suffered a severe reaction this summer and ended up on Prednisone.

jschreiber@newstote.com

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Poison ivy It's getting stronger and tougher

Itchapalooza 2013: Climate Change Fuels Poison Ivy Boom

It takes a Pennsylvania journalist to educate me on why so much poison ivy is growing along the paths and up the trees in my home state of New York this summer.

Global warming is literally changing the chemistry of poison ivy; experts believe it has doubled in strength since the 1960s.

According to the Pittsburgh ;Post-Gazette, it’s ;global warming, stupid! And apparently it’s a countrywide problem.

It also partially explains why there have been more bears walking through the backyard this summer, since they love to munch on the urushiol soaked leaves, the name for the oil or sap that lives on the skin of poison ivy and is such a pain for 85 percent of people.

An increase in carbon dioxide encourages plant growth like some kind of super fertilizer. And for some yet uncertain reason, poison ivy is proving especially greedy when it comes to CO2, sucking it down and spreading through fields and strangling trees at a record pace.

According to field studies by the Department of Agriculture, as long as CO2 levels keep rising, poison ivy will keep spreading, in some places virulently. It’s not just the number of plants that are growing, but also the potency of its poison. Global warming is literally changing the chemistry of the poison ivy; experts believe it has doubled in strength since the 1960s.

Poison ivy is not the only plant being impacted by global warming. Other studies, one by the biology department at Southwestern University in 2010, shows how an increase in CO2 increases photosynthesis in plants and encourages some to grow 30 to 40 percent faster. This is not necessarily a good thing. Even as they are growing faster, nitrogen levels in the plants are decreasing—as are othere important minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorous—which makes them drastically less nutritious for the herbivores (and man) that depend on them.

So, this is our future. Dirtier air and faster growing, evil-intended plants. I’m guessing next we’ll see news stories confirming that cockroaches and rats somehow thrive on increases in CO2. (Somewhat to the contrary, if you believe that superstorms, like Sandy, are encouraged by global warming they are proving to be hard on rat populations. The rat population in NYC went down post-Sandy, due to drowning.)

Be careful out there! Poison ivy’s ill effects aren’t only gained from brushing up against it in the woods. If its vines are burned or even churned up by weed whacker or lawn mower, the poisonous oil can become airborne and impact susceptible lungs.

What can you do about this advance, if you’re among the majority badly infected by poison ivy, the itchy, pimply blisters of which can last for several days?

First and foremost, learn to identify the plant. And then stay far away from it. Truth is, if you show the plant to most they mistake it for something innocuous, even marijuana.

Some Forest Service employees spray antiperspirant deodorant on exposed skin because the aluminum chlorohydrate may help prevent the oil from penetrating skin. (A human form of geo-engineering!)

At our house, where others are very susceptible, we keep a big, red bottle of Tecnu soap next to the sink all summer long and at the merest inkling of a brush-up there’s a rush for cold water and soap. (If you think you’ve made contact, move fast. The oil on the leaves, which is the ‘poison’ in poison ivy, often doesn’t sink into skin for about 15 minutes.) Jumping in a cold pond or pool is a possible instant remedy; Calamine lotion and ice can work after the fact.

It’s not like the measles or chicken pox. Apparently once you’ve had an allergic reaction to poison ivy you become even more at risk.

Original source: takepart.com

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Itchapalooza 2013: Climate Change Fuels Poison Ivy Boom

Lethal Lips: Study Highlights Toxic Content Of Lipstick

Lethal Lips: Study Highlights Toxic Content Of Lipstick

May 2, 2013

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Known for her lethal lips, Batman villainess Poison Ivy might appreciate a new study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley who found dangerous levels of lead, chromium and other metals in a number of commonly sold lipsticks.

Previous research, including a 2011 FDA study, has found toxic metals in commercial lipsticks, but the UC Berkeley team has specifically studied how long-term exposure to various concentrations of these metals relates to current health guidelines.

“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue; it’s the levels that matter,” said lead author S. Katharine Hammond, a professor of environmental health sciences at UC Berkeley. “Some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term.”

The researchers say that the detrimental effects of these cosmetics depend on how often and how much of the product is applied. According to the study, which appeared in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the average user applies lipstick 2.3 times a day and ingests about 24 milligrams of the product. A heavy user goes through as many as 14 applications per day and ingests an average of 83 milligrams, the study said.

Average lipstick users, as determined by this study, already expose themselves to excessive amounts of chromium, which has been linked to stomach cancer. Heavy users of these products may also be overexposed to aluminum, cadmium and manganese, the study warned. Of these metals, manganese has been connected to toxicity in the nervous system.

“Lead is not the metal of most concern,” Hammond told USA Today.

She noted that the heavy metal is found in 24 of the products, but at levels considered to be safe for adults. However, exposing children to any amount of lead is considered unsafe.

“I believe that the FDA should pay attention to this,” said lead author Sa Liu, a UC Berkeley environmental health sciences researcher. “Our study was small, using lip products that had been identified by young Asian women in Oakland, Calif. But, the lipsticks and lip glosses in our study are common brands available in stores everywhere.”

In their conclusion, the authors said that tossing out these products may be premature, but the findings do demonstrate a need for more supervision by health regulators. There are currently no federal standards for metal content in cosmetics. The European Union considers cadmium, chromium and lead to be unacceptable ingredients in cosmetic products.

“Based upon our findings, a larger, more thorough survey of lip products – and cosmetics in general – is warranted,” Liu added.

In response to the study’s findings, Personal Care Products Council spokesperson Linda Loretz said finding trace amounts of metals in cosmetics needs to be put into a larger context.

“Food is a primary source for many of these naturally present metals, and exposure from lip products is minimal in comparison,” Loretz said in a statement.

She added that the trace amounts of chromium or cadmium found in the Berkeley study are less than 1 percent of the exposure people get in a typical diet.

Source: Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online


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Lethal Lips: Study Highlights Toxic Content Of Lipstick

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