Friday, April 19, 2002
Severe Food Allergies Among Kids Rising Sharply
Experts say the incidence of severe food allergies is rising sharply. In the United States, there are now 30,000 emergency room visits a year and 200 deaths — mostly small children. Peanuts account for about half the problem.
MSNBC says, “No one knows why the numbers are up. But one theory holds that, ironically, it is because kids are healthier these days. Better vaccinations mean children have fewer illnesses as infants. So in some children, the immune system overreacts to common stimulants like the proteins in peanuts.
-Here is a very good food allergy resource page
The FDA says, “An estimated 150 Americans die each year from severe allergic reactions to food, says Hugh A. Sampson, M.D., director of the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a food allergy expert.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has made it a high priority to boost consumer and food industry awareness of food allergens. As part of these efforts, the FDA is conducting food allergen education programs for consumers and industry. The agency also is developing a strategy for clear, easy-to-understand labeling of food allergens.
According to UC Davis Healthcare “About 1 percent of people in the United States have peanut or tree nut allergies; for some, they are truly life-threatening. The most commonly implicated tree nuts are walnuts, pecans, cashews and Brazil nuts, and many people react to more than one. We are also seeing more sesame seed allergy in recent years.
Morning Meeting reader Skip Foster, The Shelby (N.C.) Star, sent this great idea, “Our local soccer association is having “Silent Soccer Week” for next week’s games. Parents AND coaches will not be permitted to address their children in any manor during the game — this includes cheering, yelling instructions, encouragement or anything. What caught my eye is the quote in our story indicating that other soccer associations have tried this as well — made me think it would be a good story for other newspapers (and TV/Radio-online).”
Here is link to the soccer association’s letter to parents:
Kids and Plastic
A week ago I included a piece about toxins in plastic and the danger they could pose to children. Not surprisingly, I got a note from a reader who says you should consider other points of view. I include his letter:
I noted your pickup of the Guiliano column on your Wednesday report. You indicated that you were not quite sure what to make of the column and, as Manager of the Phthalate Esters Panel of the American Chemistry Council, I would like to provide you with the Panel’s perspective. This column represents the opinion of one writer on an old subject that includes no new information. It includes a very misleading and incomplete characterization of the “2001 CPSC report” on the safety of DINP in toys. The “CPSC report” in question, produced by a panel of scientific experts, in fact concluded that “For most children, exposure to DINP from DINP-containing toys would be expected to pose a minimal to Nonexistent risk of injury” — a conclusion very different from that of the writer.”
Any reporter who might want to ask questions about the column can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the Panel maintains a web site which has two statements on the use of DINP in toys: http://www.phthalates.org/penewsite/html/pirg20011.htm
Manager, Phthalate Esters Panel