Analysis of airborne betula pollen in Finland; a 31-year perspective

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Jun;6(6):1706-23. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6061706. Epub 2009 May 26.


In this 31-year retrospective study, we examined the influence of meteorology on airborne Betula spp. (birch) pollen concentrations in Turku, Finland. The seasonal incidence of airborne birch pollen in Turku occurred over a brief period each year during spring (April 30 - May 31). Mean peak concentrations were restricted to May (May 5 to 13). Statistically significant increases in the annual accumulated birch pollen sum and daily maximum values were observed over the study period. Birch pollen counts collected in April were retrospectively shown to increase over the duration of the study. Increases in April temperature values were also significantly associated with the earlier onset of the birch pollen season. Furthermore, the number of days where daily birch pollen concentrations exceeded 10 and 1,000 grains/m(3) also increased throughout the study period. These data demonstrate that increases in temperature, especially during months preceding the onset of the birch pollen season, favor preseason phenological development and pollen dispersal. Birch pollen derived from other geographical locations may also contribute to the aerospora of Turku, Finland. To date, the public health burden associated with personal exposure to elevated birch pollen loads remains unclear and is the focus of future epidemiological research.

Keywords: Betula spp.; allergen; biometeorology; birch; temperature.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Betula / chemistry*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Finland
  • Pollen*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Air Pollutants