Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Confounding ad

An ad for Claritan allergy medicine came across our office the other day. It has some fascinatnig claims about climate change, plant biology and allergies of course.

here's my random take/thoughts on the claritan ad

-"low-allergy trees" ..??????....seriously?....what, are they a root-cutting, sterile species/variety? ...what kind of tree are they planting?...that has about as much credibility as Coke claiming their product is a "low-fat beverage"

-250 acres that sounds like a lot doesn't it?...especially to the average consumer....pardon the pun, but that's a "leaf in the forest" compared to the millions of acres already covered in natural growth forest, managed forest and tree farms.

-they correctly claim that planting trees removes CO2 from the atmosphere....but fail to explain that the carbon sequestered in the plant tissue is also released back into the atmosphere and other soil compounds when the plant dies and decomposes....its called a cycle, and the average person doesn't understand that...which is why our Real Trees 4 Kids! curriculum is so important, it has a unit on the carbon cycle in the grades 6-8 section ...middle schoolers understand this, but Claritan is hoping the average consumer doesn't

-here's the main part that gets me though...they claim that climate change has increased CO2 levels, "causing earlier spring allergy seasons and higher pollen levels..." ....first of all, they must not live in the Midwest, where we've had 2 of the worst winters on record the past 2 years and ice-out didn't occur in Minn where I went fishing Memorial Day until 10 days before we got there ....and really, doesn't increased pollen levels actually indicate that plant-life in general is doing better, growing more vigorously and reproducing successfully?, on the one hand, they are promoting and planting more plants to lower CO2 levels, but with lower CO2 levels, plant life wouldn't do as well and also saying they have a product to help alleviate a problem caused by more plant life ...??????

I guess I'm such a cynic that I see nothing but contradictions in this.

And I still want to know what a "low-allergy tree" is. The VAST Majority of trees are not an allergen to people, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In fact, only 1/5th of one percent (o.oo2) of tree species cause allergies.

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