Pollen Program Returns to Help Measure the Misery

Mar. 31, 2014

By Henry Brean, Las Vegas Review-Journal

After years with no way to measure their misery, allergy sufferers can rest wheezy in the knowledge that valley pollen will not go unchecked.

UNLV has partnered with the Clark County School District and others to revive an allergen monitoring program that was shuttered by the county four years ago.

One sampling station already is gulping springtime air and collecting weekly pollen levels on the roof of White Hall, home of UNLV’s School of Life Sciences. The team hopes to add five more stations and start producing daily readings across the valley and beyond, perhaps in as little as six months if enough funding comes through.

Microbiologist and UNLV professor Dennis Bazylinski figures it will take about $100,000 a year to set up the program and sustain it. They already have received some money from the school district, but additional funding will be needed.

Bazylinski remembers when he first moved to Las Vegas and would watch the pollen counts every night during the weather segment of the local news. “Then they were just gone,” he said.

Clark County used to track airborne pollen levels and issue daily reports to the public, but the effort was discontinued in 2010 when it lost its funding and some key staff members retired. Pollen monitoring is not required under state and federal environmental rules, so when the budget ax fell, that’s what got cut.

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