Assessment of the risks associated with the invasive weed Ambrosia artemisiifolia in urban environments in Romania.
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (ragweed) is an invasive weed with rapid spread during the last decades in many European countries, representing an important problem for environment and for public health, due to its highly allergenic pollen. Data from the European Aeroallergen Network (EAN) confirm the continuous increase of infested areas and of the amospheric ragweed pollen load. Ambrosia is responsible for significant health and economic impact in the most infested areas from Central Europe, mainly Hungary and neighbouring countries, including Romania. Despite generally occurring in dry and abandoned fields, along railways and roadsides, Ambrosia is now recognized as part of urban vegetation in some big cities, contributing to increase risk of air pollution and of respiratory diseases. The aim of our paper is to review the data regarding spread and problematic of Ambrosia in some big cities of Romania, mainly the capital and the actual public activities undertaken to reduce its consequences. Our data showed that Ambrosia is a real and increasing danger for human health in Romania, mainly due to its rapid spread in urban environment and increasing number of affected persons. There is an urgent need for more coordinated efforts and sustainable management of this problem, to reduce impact of Ambrosia in urban environment, to establish a national aerobiology network and to continue collaboration with European institutions and specialists in this field.