Poplar fluff not to blame for allergies

A Calgary doctor says the white fluff from poplar trees is not to blame for people's allergies.

White balls of fluff floating through the area are fairly common at this time of year. But Dr. Joel Doctor says it's a popular misconception to blame poplar trees for itchy eyes and runny noses.

"The actual fluffy particles you see in the air, they are actually massive particles, and they don't cause allergies," says Doctor. "People who have trouble with allergy symptoms at the time when the cotton fluff is around are actually reacting to very, very tiny grains of pollen in the air at the same time, far too small to see with the naked eye."

Doctor says that at this time of year, hay fever is caused by grass pollen. He says the poplar fluff is more of a nuisance than a health hazard.

CBC Radio's Maureen Miller reports