Gassy Kudzu Choking South

Quick-spreading vine emitting greenhouse gas
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2007 8:10 PM CST
"It's the plant that ate the South," said Larry Rizzo, right, of the Missouri Department of Conservation, about the vines he and Dale Myers of Kansas City Power & Light Co. checked out. Kudzu's now feared...   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – It's nicknamed "the vine that ate the South," but experts now warn that the fast-spreading invasive plant is choking more than just power lines, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Scientists have found that the plant emits ozone, making smog worse, leading to health problems—and speeding up climate change.

Most ground-level ozone pollution is thought to come from cars and power plants, but the new findings might now make Southern states step up efforts to control the voracious vine, especially since breathing in ozone can lead to health problems including emphysema, bronchitis and asthma. "Kudzu is bad, bad stuff,” said a pediatric cardiologist.