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Melbourne’s Plane Trees plainly a hazard

The City of Melbourne and the inner suburbs plane trees are adding to this season’s allergy and respiratory conditions. The trees not only give off pollens but also minute, hairy fibres which can lodge in the airway, irritate eyes and exacerbate hayfever symptoms. They are known as trichome fibres occurring mainly through the warmer months. Although there is no existing scientific research available, it is possible that the fibres are increasing overall air pollution and therefore potential irritants to people’s airways, especially on windy days. This puts at greater risk people with existing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and hayfever. Whilst the plane trees are replaced by other species when they die off, some people are calling for their complete removal which is unlikely. Attempts to reduce the trees fibre shedding have also thus far failed. The fibres can penetrate indoors given their microscopic size so a good quality air purifier like IQAir’s Healthpro 100 should be considered as a means of indoor removal before they can be ingested.