Characterization of pollen dispersion in the neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan in the spring of 2005 and 2006

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2008 Mar;5(1):76-85. doi: 10.3390/ijerph5020076.


The behavior of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) and Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) pollens in an urban area was examined through the measurements of the dispersion characteristics at the various sampling locations in both outdoor and indoor environments. Airborne pollens were counted continuously for three months during the Japanese cedar pollen and Japanese cypress seasons in 2005 and 2006 by the use of Durham's pollen trap method in and around Tokyo, Japan. The dispersion of pollens at the rooftop of Kyoritsu Women's University was observed to be at extremely high levels in 2005 compared with previously reported results during the past two decades. As for Japanese cedar pollen, the maximum level was observed as 440 counts cm(-2) day(-1) on 18 March 2005. Japanese cypress pollen dispersed in that area in the latter period was compared with the Japanese cedar pollen dispersions. The maximum dispersion level was observed to be 351 counts cm(-2) day(-1) on 7 April 2005. Total accumulated dispersions of Japanese cedar and Japanese cypress pollens were 5,552 and 1,552 counts cm(-2) for the three months (Feb., Mar. and Apr.) in 2005, respectively. However, the dispersion of both pollens in 2006 was very low. The total accumulated dispersions of Japanese cedar and Japanese cypress pollens were 421 and 98 counts cm(-2) for three months (Feb., Mar. and Apr.) in 2006, respectively. Moreover, the pollen deposition on a walking person in an urban area showed that the pollen counts on feet were observed to be extremely high compared with the ones on the shoulder, back and legs. These findings suggested that pollen fell on the surface of the paved road at first, rebounded to the ambient air and was deposited on the residents again. Furthermore, the regional distribution of the total pollen dispersion in the South Kanto area was characterized on 15-16 March 2005 and on 14-15 March 2006. Although the pollen levels in 2005 were much higher than in 2006, it was commonly observed that higher pollen counts existed in the outlying areas. That is, the pollen counts in an urban area were confirmed to be at a lower level. As for the indoor dispersion of pollens, two cases were evaluated. At the lobby of the main building of Kyoritsu Women's University, the averaged ratio of the indoor to the outdoor pollen count is 4.1%. Another case was at the hospital building of a medical school. The pollen dispersion in the indoor environment was also observed to be low. It was concluded that the indoor pollen would be mainly carried from the outer environment by the movement of air.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollution, Indoor
  • Chamaecyparis / physiology*
  • Cryptomeria / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Pollen / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tokyo
  • Urban Health
  • Walking
  • Wind


  • Air Pollutants