lose the flakes

Dandruff and dog fur may be more than embarrassing inconveniences: they could be changing the world’s climate, new research shows.

Dead skin, animal hair and other materials, such as bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses, plant cells and pollens, have been found to make up a larger part of “aerosol” air pollution than was thought.

By counting and identifying cells in air samples from around the world, a German researcher, Ruprecht Jaenicke, showed that about 25 per cent of atmospheric particles came from these sources in some places.

Atmospheric aerosols play a crucial role in regulating the global climate, and the meteorological relevance of cellular particles could be high, said Dr Jaenicke, of the University of Mainz, whose results were published yesterday in the journal Science.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Apr 2005