"When you think of regions that might be bad for those with tree pollen allergies, the Southwest may not be the first to come to mind. Cities like Albuquerque don't have as many trees as most towns, but the few trees that are there, combined with the hot, dry and often windy weather, can create big problems for allergy sufferers.
In 1994, the City Council added a pollen-control ordinance to the books banning entire categories of trees, including mulberry, cypress and most cottonwoods. It threatens violators with a $500 fine.
But is the ordinance doing any good? Dan Gates, who works for the city's Air Quality Division, would know. Most mornings, he can be found at one of two pollen-monitoring stations in Albuquerque. He changes out slides smudged with grease that collect pollen grains from the air, and examines the slides under a microscope to come up with that day's pollen count.
When he looks at a couple of decades worth of pollen-count data, Gates says, there's no indication the numbers are on the decline."