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I once cut my leg up with a chainsaw…

… so we must ban chainsaws!

Look, as a Dad with a daughter who is allergic to fish and a son allergic to tree nuts, I totally “get” why parents get hyped up about their kids being exposed to substances that may result in a severe reaction. But I also “get” that I cannot eliminate the risk 100% of the time! I’m not going to the Loblaws store Manager demanding that cashews be taken off the shelves or isolated in a “nut-only” secure room on the off-chance that a bag could split open while my kid is in the general vicinity.

No I’m not going to do that.

And I think that this parent is going a little over the top in demanding that an oak tree be removed from her child’s school because of acorns – which she perceives to be a threat.

One parent’s bid to remove four oak trees from a park straddling her acorn-allergic daughter’s elementary schoolyard has generated fresh debate over what lengths authorities should go to eliminate childhood risks, and when the line between reasonable accommodation and overreaction is crossed.

Donna Giustizia told Vaughan, Ont., city council that the saplings dropping tree nuts onto school property pose a threat to young students with anaphylaxis-inducing allergies and are infringing on their right to a nut-free space.

But the request is being met with broad skepticism, as city councillors are forced to mull the tricky business of altogether removing something that might be a risk for a small segment of the population.

Skepticism, indeed.

Besides, after a couple of minutes of searching the Interweb, it seems as though acorns aren’t tree nuts at al! At least not from an alergen perspective.

This is courtesy of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology

Both acorns and chestnuts are a member of the plant family called Fagaceae. This family is different from those of tree nuts (almond, walnut, hickory, pecan, cashew). The substances that produce allergy in acorns and chestnuts are therefore different than those that produce allergy to the other tree nuts. To my knowledge, there is no risk of a patient with nut allergy having a reaction to contact with acorns or with leaves of any sort. I could not find any evidence for such risk on an Internet search.

The only allergy reaction to acorns that I am aware of occurs in areas of the world where they are eaten, and occurs to the ingestion of the acorn. In this instance the allergy is separate from nut allergy.

Now how about those chainsaws?


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