The pollen is very buoyant and may be carried by the air for miles. Among all the junipers, the mountain cedar has received the greatest attention as an allergen source. The toxic nature of the mountain cedar pollen may lie in its chemical nature. The allergic reactions to mountain cedar pollen appear to be attributable to a single, stable, glycoprotein, with high carbohydrate and low protein content. This contrasts with the majority of known allergens in pollen grains, which tend to be a mix of allergenic glycoproteins having much lower carbohydrate content. The high carbohydrate content in combination with high density make the pollen of Mountain Cedar unique in causing allergic rhinitis.
In addition to making a person feel ill due to allergies, this condition can interfere in a variety of ways with carrying out one's day to day responsibilities. Loss of sleep, limitation of activities, diminished productivity, poor concentration, emotional distress, irritability, fatigue, and practical problems such as repeated nose blowing and nose rubbing, all impact negatively on ability to carry out physical, social and work/school responsibilities effectively. Similar to other pollen allergens, mountain cedar pollens contact the lining tissue of a person's eyes, nose, and lungs. Therefore reducing the duration of exposure to these pollens is important.
For more than 3 million Tokyo residents who seasonally suffer from sniffly, sneezy kafunsho (pollen allergy), the sight of Gov. Shintaro Ishihara applying an ax to the trunk of a pollen-producing cedar back in 2006 was enough to bring tears of joy to their already itchy eyes. But it seems that kafunsho sufferers have little to look forward to beyond an unpleasant, annual three-month bout of blowing runny noses and rubbing itchy eyes. The mountains of cedar currently idling so allergenically on their doorstep appear set to remain idling there for a while longer until market prices entice landowners to harvest their investments.
|Air conditioning: Two of Tokyo's millions of pollen-allergy sufferers use masks to aid their plight. SATOKO KAWSAKI PHOTO|