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Environment and Allergic Diseases

Pollution is not only bad for the environment, but it can have serious effects on human health. Chronic conditions such as asthma can be worsened by environmental pollution. Recent research also shows that multiple sclerosis could be linked to difficulties in processing iron and aluminium.

By looking at the chemicals inside polluted soils, plants and water, scientists can understand how they are released into the environment, and also how they can be mopped up again.


Allergic diseases, such as hay fever and conjunctivitis, are caused when a person is over sensitive to a particular substance. People can be allergic to wide range of things including environmental pollutants or pollen. This panel depicts pollen from the Acacia which can cause symptoms varying from a runny nose and rashes to the more dangerous anaphylactic shock.

Design by Anne Griffiths

Made by Chilton WI

The grains of pollen are padded circles of velvet with flat cords made on an Inkle loom laid on top. The image below shows Judy Goodall demonstrating the loom to other members of the group.


Aspergillus is a group of moulds (fungus), which is found world-wide but especially in the autumn and winter in the Northern hemisphere.

The mould grows on decaying vegetation, such as compost heaps and fallen leaves. It can also be found in air conditioning systems and hospitals. Only a few of these moulds can cause illness in humans and animals.

Most of us are naturally immune and do not develop diseases caused by Aspergillus. However, when disease does occur, it takes several forms. Some people with asthma are allergic to the fungal spores which can trigger an attack if they are inhaled. Others will develop a condition known as Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillus (ABPA), in which asthma worsens significantly, as a result of increased lung inflammation.

Diseases caused by Aspergillus are called Aspergillosis. The severity of which is determined by various factors but one of the most important is the state of the immune system of the person.

In this panel the ‘spores’ are made from a background of purple scrim with a layer of blue silk on top. Over this tiny seed stitches, couched threads and tiny Suffolk puffs made from a variety of hand dyed silks and velvets are randomly attached.

Design taken from an image curtesy of Wellcome Trust.

Made by Dunsden, Greys, Peppard and Stoke Row WI's.

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