HAYFEVER: Rapeseed pollen

LONSDALE david.lonsdale at afrc.ac.uk
Wed Jul 13 04:23:39 EST 1994

Mail received
In response to the mail on `Brassica rapa' which has ben diverted
 into a discussion of 
hayfever, see mail below and others not listed. I was under the impression that
there had been a considerable increase in pollen allergies following the 
increase in acreage of oilseed rape in the UK over the last 10 years. 

Other than Boots leaflets is there any documented studies on this subject?

I have looked for references in Compact Cambridge and Agricola without success.
Certainly for people working with oilseed rape great care has to be taken, 
as an  allergenic response to the pollen is easily developed.


*now for the argumentative bit*

As an (extreme) hayfever sufferer who works on rape seed, I can personally
put paid to the assertion (sometimes seen in the press) that oil seed rape
is a non-specific allergen..that increases suffering in ALL hay fever
cases and starts new ones in previous non-sufferers.
I am suffering from hayfever NOW 
..... but I have been working on flowering cultivated oil-seed rape
all spring and winter and have never had so much as a sniffle. 
The BMA (British Medical Association) suggests that there is no proven
causative link between oil-seed rape and hay fever. (one public source
of this info is readily available in a very nicely produced Boots (the
chemists) leaflet on hayfever)
MOST hayfever is caused by grass and tree pollens....
In my personal opinion...oil-seed rape gets an unfair deal in this respect
and probably gets it because it is a fairly recent and VERY visible crop.
The increase in hayfever is almost certainly due to increased pollution
and not oil-seed rape...(especially car pollution).

The assertion about honey may be true...I'm not keen on honey myself
so I'm not fussed to find out ;).

BTW..next time you buy cress or 'mild cress' from a supermarket..check
the ingredients....in most places it is only ~5% cress...the rest?
.....you guessed it..it is oil-seed rape seedlings..cress tastes too
strong for the average punter.
Hope this helps...

David Lonsdale

Lonsdale at bbsrc.ac.uk

or if that fails try ... Lonsdale at afrc.ac.uk

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