Legumes of Terror

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This January Harper's article on food allergies isn't available online–Harper's articles generally aren't, because the magazine is hand-scribed with quill pens on parchment scrolls–but it's damn good: 

Of little concern to most parents or educators, only a generation ago, food allergies are now seen as a childhood epidemic. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently began recommending that peanuts be withheld until a child turns three; hundreds of food allergy nonprofits and local parents groups have formed; and six states have passed laws requiring food allergy measures in their schools, with similar legislation currently being considered in Congress. But the rash of fatal food allergies is mostly myth, a cultural hysteria cooked up with a few key ingredients: fearful parents in an age of increased anxiety, sensationalist news coverage, and a coterie of well-placed advocates whose dubious science has fed the frenzy.

One of the first and most influential of the food allergy nonprofits, [the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis  Network], has successfully passed off as fact its message that food allergies have become more prevalent and dire. Since 2005, more than 400 news stories have  used FAAN's estimates that allergic reactions to food send 30,000 Americans to emergency rooms each year and that 150 to 200 ultimately die….The CDC, in its most up-to-date figures, recorded only 12 deaths from food allergies in all of 2004. When asked about these statistical discrepancies, FANN founder and CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong said focusing on any numbers misses the point: "One child dying from food allergies is too many."

FAAN, as Meredith Broussard reports, accepts donations from the distributor of an adrenaline injector. "Just about all the leading food allergists," she writes, have ties to FAAN or an even more excitable organization called the Food Allergy Initiative.

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  1. This January Harper’s article on food allergies isn’t available online–Harper’s articles generally aren’t, because the magazine is hand-scribed with quill pens on parchment scrolls

    Or … the folks at Harper’s have this stuffy old-fashioned notion that if people are willing to pay for something, there’s no reason to give it away.

  2. I’ve wondered about this. My own anecdotal experience suggests that peanut allergies are more common.

    That “12 deaths” figure would be more impressive if it was compared over a timeline.

  3. When it comes to food allergies, Chris Rock said it best:

    “We got so much food in America, we’re allergic to food. Allergic to food! Hungry people ain’t allergic to shit. You think anyone in Rwanda’s got a fuckin’ lactose intolerance?!”

  4. CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong said focusing on any numbers misses the point: “One child dying from food allergies is too many.”

    I would like to push for Federal death penalty legislation for anyone who uses any variant of “one child dying/injured from [insert bullshit here] is too many”.

  5. Episiarch,

    I am officially now your minion to command.

  6. If even one child dies in the British National Health system…

  7. Kerry, please tell me the company is public.

    You made me a fortune with LifeCell…

  8. I am officially now your minion to command.

    Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia.

  9. My impression (and it’s just that, an impression) is it’s more common as well…..have a nephew deathly allergic to peanuts and have lost a freind to it (restaurant used peanut oil). As tragic and close to home as all that is, I still feel it’s the parents (when kids are young) and the individual with the allergy’s responsibility to take their own precautions in general. But, my nephew’s (while young) experience has been schools and other people in positions of responsibility who want absolutely nothing to do with precautions (say keeping some epipen handy) because of the liability of using it incorrectly. My thought was always that if one whiff of peanut dust will cause him to die within a few minutes, a school official ought to be willing to at least take a stab (literally, with syringe) at saving him. If it doesn’t work at least they tried?

    downside of litigious society I guess…

  10. If even one child dies in the British National Health system…

    Check that, Legate–bring me joe’s head first.

  11. I don’t think one child dying is too many. I think a thousand is just about right. A million would be too many. That’s because the children are our future (taxpayers).

  12. When asked about these statistical discrepancies, FANN founder and CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong said focusing on any numbers misses the point: “One child dying from food allergies is too many.”

    That sounds vaguely familiar. I wonder why? [/snark]
    Consumer advocates that lie are immoral buckets of phlegm. Notice how cavalierly she tosses off her truthlessness.

    Hey Anne, that ain’t moral high ground you’re standing on, it’s a pile of bovine excrement!

  13. Legislation Checklist

    [] For the children
    [] One person being affected is one too many
    [] Then the terrorists have already won
    [] national health epidemic
    [] things just aren’t the same as they used to be
    [] we need to promote equality
    [] just do something!

  14. dude,

    I agree about the public policy prescriptions you mention.

    My main concern is, if it actually is increasing, why?

  15. Does the adrenaline injector use thymerisol(sp?) for a preservative?

  16. My main concern is, if it actually is increasing, why?

    Well that’s really the question: is it increasing?

  17. My girlie is deathly allergic to peanuts, so is her mum. Once, after some Mole sauce, I was nearly fated to play Vincent Vega to her Mia Wallace and deliver the adrenaline shot.

    F’in trippy.

  18. But, my nephew’s (while young) experience has been schools and other people in positions of responsibility who want absolutely nothing to do with precautions (say keeping some epipen handy) because of the liability of using it incorrectly.

    A teacher I know was recently freaked out by her epi-pen training. If you mis-diagnose the shock, or accidentally stab an extremity of the victim, you can end up doing serious damage. However, the school is so scared of peanut-related deaths that all teachers must now be combat medics in the allergy wars.

    What’s this teacher supposed to do if two middle schoolers are duking it out, by the way? Well, she shouldn’t break up the fight because that would be too dangerous.

    By coincidence, good article in the NYT on the same subject today, and it’s available for free online!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/dining/09alle.html?em&ex=1200114000&en=6ecfcfc0e5e712be&ei=5087

  19. I wonder if the fact that parents try to hermetically seal their children off from the world at birth has something to do with this? Just an anecdote I know, but I grew up more in the country and around dirt and animals from day one and my wife grew up in a hyper clean house in the city with no animals. I am not allergic to anything and she is allergic to tons of things. We spent 50,000 years in the dirt and mud, perhaps there is something to be said for not totally leaving there.

  20. When asked about these statistical discrepancies, FANN founder and CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong said focusing on any numbers misses the point: “One child dying from food allergies is too many.”

    So…it is okay to lie for “the children.”

    I’ll have to add that to my list.

    1. It is okay to lie for Jesus.
    2. It is okay to lie for the environment.
    3. It is okay to lie for the Children.

  21. CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong said focusing on any numbers misses the point: “One child dying from food allergies is too many.”

    Ms. Munoz-Furlong is simply an entrepreneur creating a market for the product she is trying to sell. Didn’t reason recently do an article concerning this phenomena?

  22. joe–

    I have a hypothesis. It actually is increasing because more people are aware and are avoiding foods they are allergic to, and thus more are living to breeding age where they pass on their defective genes. Serious (potentially fatal) food allergies used be a lethal mutation, but need not be anymore.

    Anyway, that’s my hypothesis. Critique away…

  23. They can have my nuts when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

  24. However, the school is so scared of peanut-related deaths that all teachers must now be combat medics in the allergy wars.

    It amazes me that the police aren’t legally obligated to come to your rescue but teachers are.

  25. I’ve wondered about this. My own anecdotal experience suggests that peanut allergies are more common.

    joe–more common that what? More common than they used to be? (How common did they used to be?) More common than most people assume? (How common to most people assume they are?) I’m missing your point completely.

  26. Are kids today just weaker?When I was young I had the mumps,measles and chicken-pox before I was 5.Allergy’s were not unheard of.I had a friend that was allergic to berries and grass but he out grew it[or gained a tolerance] and played football in high school.The amount of breathing problems seems to have increased also.I just wonder,are we so removed from the natural wold things like dirt,food,and some germs[that are now resistant]are sickening us?So much for the evolution of mankind.

  27. Joe,

    My main concern is, if it actually is increasing, why?

    I think with only 12 it is probably a safe bet that it is not increasing. Anyways, you’d have to look at the number as a ratio of the population…and given a population in the hundreds of millions you are talking about a number so small that it would be hard to generate any meaninful statistics.

  28. My main concern is, if it actually is increasing, why?

    From wikipedia: A theory of the development of peanut allergy has to do with the way that peanuts are processed in North America versus other countries like China and India. Peanuts are widely eaten in China and India but peanut allergies are almost unheard of there. According to a 2003 study, roasting peanuts, as more commonly done in North America, causes the major peanut allergen Ara h2 to become a stronger inhibitor of the digestive enzyme trypsin, making it more resistant to digestion.[15] Additionally, this allergen has also been shown to protect Ara h1, another major peanut allergen, from digestion – a characteristic further enhanced by roasting.[15]

    Though the allergy can last a lifetime, another 2003 study indicates that 23.3% of children will outgrow a peanut allergy.[16]

    Peanut allergy has been associated with the use of skin preparations containing peanut oil among children, but the evidence is not regarded as conclusive.[17] Peanut allergies have also been associated with family history and intake of soy products.

    my guess: traditional breeding techniques and/or genetic engineering are making the bad chemicals either more concentrated in the peanut and/or more easily disassociated from the peanut over successive generations of product. If I recall correctly the 1992 FDA guidelines, they only want to know whether a GE food puts a known allergan into a food where it did not exist before. They do not care if GE makes an allergan more deadly in a food where it already existed. As Harper’s points out, it is tough to know whether peanut allergies really are on the rise, but, if they are, the answer is almost certainly insufficient FDA oversight. To the extent it exists, this problem is not being taken care of by the unregulated market.

  29. My peanut/walnut allergy put me in the ER. I don’t need a Big Government Program if driving to the restaurant is more dangerous to me than eating there, but I do read any article about research into a possible cure that comes along.

  30. Sans the gratuitously judgemental finger pointing, I would echo John’s general point that it may be our cleaner and more anti-septic society and environment that leads to this. I figure less kids die young as a result of our hygienic ways, but those who survive a more dangerous early exposure to bacteria and other bugs may be more fragile through adulthood as a result of not having their immune system tested as a young un.

  31. My (non-hermetically sealed)son is peanut allergic.

    Also, not that I have a point about this, but FAAN accepts grants and donations from peanut growers too.

  32. Ooops, I meant thimerosal. Does the injector have thimerosal in it to preserve the adrenaline?

    If so then they have the protest/lawsuit cycle in play for the next 10 years.

  33. but, if they are, the answer is almost certainly insufficient FDA oversight. To the extent it exists, this problem is not being taken care of by the unregulated market.

    lol, or, or, the problem doesnt exist, implying that there is nothing for the FDA to oversee or the market to take care of?

  34. Didn’t I read someplace that cooking of meat is what is really poisoning everybody? Some wacky stuff about raw meat being healthier for you and preventing stuff like this.

  35. I’m raising my kids in a barnyard and making sure they periodically have tapeworms and such. No child of mine will have such a confused immune system that it dies from something stupid like peanuts.

  36. Steve Verdon is right. From the article: “Ken Kochanek, a CDC statistician, says there are far too few recorded incidents of anaphylactic shock triggered by food allergies to draw any sound epidemiological conclusions.

  37. As long as we’re exchanging anecdotes, I’ve never met anyone with a peanut allergy. My grandpa can’t eat peanuts, but that’s a different matter (he used to be able to, now can’t, like many old people).

  38. ok, i’ll add a “that I know of” to that.

  39. Some people are allegic to peanuts. That is just so sad. How big is the problem? We already have a couple of testimonials about the dreaded peanut epidemic on this thread. OTOH, I’ve known a number of people in my life,

    Epileptics? Check.
    Leukemia victims? Check.
    Type 1 diabetes sufferers? – Check.
    Spinal Bufidia? – Check.
    Peanut allergiy sufferers – No check.

    If you can use anecdotes to bolster your case, then mine counts just as much. Numbers please? None off Anne Munoz-Furlong’s hallucinations/fabrications. I’ve been watching this peanut allergy thing turning into hysteria over the years. I’m getting sick of it.
    CDC …only 12 deaths from food allergies in all of 2004.
    Maybe 2004 was a very good year. Maybe the average is double that. Big deal.

  40. I would like to push for Federal death penalty legislation for anyone who uses any variant of “one child dying/injured from [insert bullshit here] is too many”.

    Unless you’re talking about anti-drug SWAT teams or anything else ostensibly done For Our Own Good.

    It amazes me that the police aren’t legally obligated to come to your rescue but teachers are.

    Not to justify dumping more pippy-poo regulatory bullshit onto teachers’ plates, but since their students are REQUIRED BY LAW to spend several hours each day in said teacher’s custody, I can maybe kind of see the rationale. If I’m required by law to hand my deathly-allergic kid over to the state every day, the state damn well better keep her safe.

  41. They do not care if GE makes an allergan more deadly in a food where it already existed.

    They also don’t care if organic methods do the same.

  42. I’ll bet more people die in avalanches while skiing.

  43. They also don’t care if organic methods do the same.

    I mentioned in my response that it was possible that traditional breeding methods were concentrating the bad chemical. So, like, duh.

    But, more importantly, what matters is how quickly agricultural methods are changing the chemical composition of our foods. The reason one would look at GE as a culprit is that it would generally make changes less gradually than traditional methods and may therefore merit increased scrutiny. At a more general level should be that when any agricultural method makes relatively quick changes in food composition (that is, relatively quick compared to the pace of changes taken over the history of agriculture), then the products of that method should get enhanced scrutiny.

  44. There are 4 mentions of people on this thread of that have a peanut allergy. Fascinating. I wonder what the chances are of having that many mentions of the allergy on one thread, from one little blog from a magazine site of relatively limited circulation, all within an hour of the original post, if the allergy isn’t all that prevalent.

  45. via John: I grew up more in the country and around dirt and animals from day one and my wife grew up in a hyper clean house in the city with no animals. I am not allergic to anything and she is allergic to tons of things. We spent 50,000 years in the dirt and mud, perhaps there is something to be said for not totally leaving there.

    Ditto.

    via fyodor: Sans the gratuitously judgemental finger pointing, I would echo John’s general point that it may be our cleaner and more anti-septic society and environment that leads to this. I figure less kids die young as a result of our hygienic ways, but those who survive a more dangerous early exposure to bacteria and other bugs may be more fragile through adulthood as a result of not having their immune system tested as a young un.

    Yup.

    And now for another bit of anecdotal uselessness. Accurate enough (from my perspective) but is it reason enough to build legislation around?

    My ex-wife’s dad was a doctor, he grew up in a “medical” (i.e. clean and tidy) home environment, and her siblings have kids with asthma and various major allergic reactions to something – the offspring we produced are only slightly allergic to things on rare occasions. Often, I have noticed, their symptoms arise at more-or-less regular times when they feel stressed, like Sunday night or Monday morning before a school day. Hmmm… maybe they simply fear teachers armed with epi-pens – or maybe just teachers/school in general!?

    via Reinmoose: My grandpa can’t eat peanuts, but that’s a different matter (he used to be able to, now can’t, like many old people).

    Yah, I so get that “old people” thing. I used to be able to eat my mother’s boiled cabbage (…or be sent to bed hungry…) now that I’m old (and do most of the shopping and cooking) I can’t eat it anymore because it never shows up on my plate! -grin-

  46. J sub D | January 10, 2008, 4:14pm | #
    I’ll bet more people die in avalanches while skiing.

    You nailed it! J sub!

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/01/10/bc-rosslandavalanche.html

  47. Looks like Dave is not only concerned with HFCS, but HAPB (high allergen peanut butter). Good to know you have varied interests, Dave. Can’t have all your conspiratorial energy going to just one food item.

  48. I mentioned in my response that it was possible that traditional breeding methods were concentrating the bad chemical. So, like, duh.

    Breeding techniques and growing techniques aren’t the same thing.

    It’s not like organic farmers are trying to create new breeds, though it is possible that farming techniques have favored one breed over others and that breed has more of the allegen.

  49. Looks like Dave is not only concerned with HFCS, but HAPB

    You know how much HFCS is in peanut butter?

  50. J sub D

    Dude, I’ll bet, like, more people die, like, from sharks and shit.

    KD

    Genius J Sub!

    J Sub D

    THANX KD! LOL!

  51. Chuck,

    I’ve got a problem with the genetic explanation. My father had nine siblings, none of whom had food allergies. I have about 40 cousins on that side, ditto.

    And yet, one of my cousins has a kid with a whole range of food allergies.

    And I don’t buy the theory about over-diagnosis and panic, either. If your kid blows up like a balloon, and his throat starts closing, you take him to the doctor in 1920, 1940, 1960, and 1980, too.

  52. 12 deaths is about a 1 in 29 million annual risk and a 1 in 340,000 lifetime risk over all age groups. As compared to around 9,000 deaths per year total for ages 1 through 14 this is a no never mind.

    My kid’s school already bans homemade goodies. They’ll have to go through me to get her PB&J.

  53. Looks like Dave is not only concerned with HFCS, but HAPB (high allergen peanut butter).

    I am not sure there is a problem with the peanuts. I carefully phrased my intial post to make it clear that I wasn’t convinced that there is a problem with the peanuts. Me careful like that.

    One reason to think that there isn’t a problem is that Ms. Howley seems to think there isn’t a problem and she seems to keep her beak a bit cleaner than some of the other above-the-fold types.

    An even better reason to think there is not a problem is that Harper’s doesn’t think there is a problem. As we both know, Harper’s totally rocks out the hard jamz!

  54. And I don’t buy the theory about over-diagnosis and panic, either.If your kid blows up like a balloon, and his throat starts closing, you take him to the doctor in 1920, 1940, 1960, and 1980, too.

    Good point. Not to mention, this diagnosis isn’t subjective like, say, autism. There are specific blood tests that can determine IgE response levels to different allergens.

  55. And I don’t buy the theory about over-diagnosis and panic, either.If your kid blows up like a balloon, and his throat starts closing, you take him to the doctor in 1920, 1940, 1960, and 1980, too.

    But what if they couldn’t save the kid in 1920 and 1940 because of slow amblunce response time, old-timey drugs, whatever, but then starting in 1960 they saved a lot more of these genetic freaks. And these mutants just kept breeding and breeding and breeding and breeding…

  56. There are specific blood tests that can determine IgE response levels to different allergens.

    Not all of which were routinely performed in 1920, 1940, 1960, and 1980.

    People tend to look for single causes for these things but it’s probably multiple causes. The US imports a lot more peanuts than it used to.

  57. but then starting in 1960 they saved a lot more of these genetic freaks. And these mutants just kept breeding and breeding and breeding and breeding…

    now that is some funny shit right there.

  58. And these mutants just kept breeding and breeding and breeding and breeding…

    And they all live at Charles Xavier’s house.

  59. This is a perfect example of an “availability cascade” It’s become a popular topic and so more and more “evidence” (by which I mean “anecdote”) crops up.

    Personally if it is the case that food allergies and asthma really are going up dramatically it probably has to do with either our kids’ super clean environments OR some impact from the overabundance of chemicals in their environments.

    Anecdote: I have friends with a kid that is allergic to everything. Personally I suspect that he acts as if he is allergic to more things than he is allergic to…. he really digs the attention and it gets him out of eating things he does not like. My wife and I can tell, but his super-sensitive parents cannot.

  60. One reason to think that there isn’t a problem is that Ms. Howley seems to think there isn’t a problem and she seems to keep her beak a bit cleaner than some of the other above-the-fold types.

    Dave, I think you have a crush on Kerry. But the sad truth is that she eats HFCS. Sorry to destroy your fantasy.

  61. Russ, you are right, but the numbers have risen significantly even since the advent of the blood tests.

  62. You nailed it! J sub!

    It’s nice to not always be wrong.

  63. Can we make a law that only people who are or have actively raised children (live away parents don’t count) can be concerned about children?

    Too many of my wife’s spinster friends are worked up about nonsense when it comes to my children. It’s almost as bad as their fears for their many cats!

  64. I would like to push for Federal death penalty legislation for anyone who uses any variant of “one child dying/injured from [insert bullshit here] is too many”.

    Alternatively, we could simply have two children randomly selected for termination upon each public utterance thereof.

  65. Personally if it is the case that food allergies and asthma really are going up dramatically it probably has to do with either our kids’ super clean environment…

    I read some study once that seemed to show that growing up in a household with a cat reduced the incidence of asthma.

  66. I love the anecdote threads!

    The pediatrician, when we begged her to tell us it was ok to feed the Boy peanut butter, told us it was fine at 18 months since neither of us parents have a family history of peanut allergy.

    The first time we gave him a PB&J he blew up like a balloon and almost died.

    Kidding! No sign of any allergies for him. Finally keeping a filthy house pays off.

  67. I’ve got a problem with the genetic explanation. My father had nine siblings, none of whom had food allergies. I have about 40 cousins on that side, ditto.

    And yet, one of my cousins has a kid with a whole range of food allergies.

    Given that your father is not the sole source of genetic material in all these people I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

    And I don’t buy the theory about over-diagnosis and panic, either. If your kid blows up like a balloon, and his throat starts closing, you take him to the doctor in 1920, 1940, 1960, and 1980, too.

    Yes, but I wouldn’t be surprised that back in 1920 and even 1940, not as many kids survived such incidents. Hence Chuck’s point, that as treatments and diagnoses get better more childern survive the period where in earlier times they’d not, thus passing on the genes with greater frequency.

    Russ, you are right, but the numbers have risen significantly even since the advent of the blood tests.

    So? How does this not fit with Chuck’s theory? If the tests become more popular and you find out your kid has these allergies, then you take steps to help increase the survival rate. More breeding, more kids with the allergies as time goes on.

  68. Russ, you are right, but the numbers have risen significantly even since the advent of the blood tests.

    And I’ll restate – peanut imports have risen in the last ten years. That’s probably THE most significant change in peanut consumption in the US over the last ten years and it’s ignored in favor of CHEMICAL SCARE!

    Maybe I should be careful what I ask for, as even looking at foreign peanuts will probably devolve into xenophobia.

  69. Foriegn peanuts do the jobs American peanuts won’t do.

  70. Foriegn peanuts do the jobs American peanuts won’t do.

    But they’re free-loading on our socialist peanut programs!

  71. Just an anecdote I know, but I grew up more in the country and around dirt and animals from day one and my wife grew up in a hyper clean house in the city with no animals. I am not allergic to anything and she is allergic to tons of things.

    With five children (all of them unbelievably lazy when it comes to cleaning up after themselves), our house is only one notch above the level of your middling-quality pigsties. This seems to have successfully staved off peanut allergies, but Number One Son swells up like a balloon when he eats shellfish (and seems to be asthmatic to boot). Did I mess up as a parent by not messing up the house even more?

  72. joe–

    you may be right about the genetic part; I have no idea if peanut allergies tend to run in families or not. And *expression* of genes is not the same as *having* a certain gene, so it may be the case that families can carry a gene for a while before it shows itself.

    No doubt you are right that in earlier times, families would still have taken their kids to a doctor, but at least in rural areas doctors may be far away, and there would be no way to get there in time to save the child. 15 miles is a pretty long ways without a car.

    I’m not so sure about the import theory, unless there is something different about foreign peanuts. My family is from the deep south, and in those parts kids are given peanuts as soon as they have teeth to chew them with. It has been a major staple in the south for a long time, so I doubt that consumption has actually increased, at least in that part of the country.

  73. My family is from the deep south, and in those parts kids are given peanuts as soon as they have teeth to chew them with. It has been a major staple in the south for a long time,

    Just before the battle, the Gen’ral heard a row.
    He said, “The Yanks are coming. I hear their rifles now.”
    He turned around in wonder and what do you think he sees?
    The Georgia militia eating goober peas!

    Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas!
    Eating goober peas.
    Goodness how delicious,
    eating goober peas.

    Sorry ’bout that, Chuck, but I was taught it in elementary school and my evil neurons won’t let it go.

  74. Just so you know, parents whose children have food allergies may not be posting on this blog because you support this rubbish of Meredith B. A lot of parents whose children have food allergies are in an uproar over this article. Meredith Broussard is an author of two books about failed relationships and has a blog about it. She is NOT a food allergy expert, in fact, she claims she has them like to Vermouth! Please don’t take this woman for her word. She has no merit in my book. They are interviewing Dr. Hugh Sampson, a medical expert from Mount Siani(sp?) on this very topic to fix the mess that this woman decided to make with no accurate statistics and little information about food allergies. If you are going to comment on food allergies, educate yourselves first before you express opinions on conspiracy theories. If you would like to hear her controversial interview, here is the link, but please read the comments from over 148 furious parents too. Thank you.
    http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2008/01/02/segments/91222

  75. J sub D
    I’ll bet more people die in avalanches while skiing.

    Eight this year in Washington state (so far).

  76. J sub D | January 10, 2008, 4:14pm | #
    I’ll bet more people die in avalanches while skiing.

  77. No, my comment was not successfully posted.

    When I worked in Switzerland a decade ago one of my close colleagues was killed (with 2 of his buddies) in an avalanche in the Alps.

    Take that, peanut wimps.

  78. anybody notice that when Paul is talking, the others sneer and scoff, yet when they are talking, Paul is taking notes? obviously the issues are paramount, but damn that guy has class.

  79. woops! wrong entry. sorry

  80. It’s amazing how ignorant people like the journalist Meredith can pass off unsubstantiated information to the mass and cause this type of callous, uneducated ramblings as I see above.

    IF an illness of any type hits YOU OR YOUR family OR whoever you *may* care about (b/c most of you seem unable to have emotions), YOU would have a different story.

    WOW. IF *I* could quote CHRIS ROCK as an expert of food allergies, then THAT must prove something. THANK YOU for enlightening me. AND the whole ‘breeding of mutants’ comment? Take a look at all the posters with little or no compassion for those less fortunate and THERE, those are the mutants.

    It is so nice to actually realize there ARE people like yourselves that exist in this world and can gather and ramble like this w/o any thought beyond YOUR little world. Now I know where you guys hide.

  81. It’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too early for a drink…

  82. I’m allergic to earnestness this early in the morning.

  83. IF an illness of any type hits YOU OR YOUR family OR whoever you *may* care about (b/c most of you seem unable to have emotions), YOU would have a different story.

    What? I’d make up figures? Inflate the numbers so my loved one would get more attention? Prostitute my integrity because my sister died? Jump on a soapbox and shout, “Pay attention to this obscure problem because it affects me personally”?

    Wrong! Been there (brain cancer), haven’t done that.

  84. Your “voices” are clearly young, inexperienced, and post college but pre-parental. Good luck. It (food allergies) is coming to your little world too…if and when you reproduce…look at the timeline and change in protocol for childhood vaccines. Vaccines are known to change us on a level that invites allergies. This is a fact documented. Vaccines change the balance of TH1 and TH2. As consumers of vaccines we handled that fairly well….and then allergies exploded in the mid eighties when the vaccine protocol changed. Take a look. Vaccines are not a bad thing, but anything can be a bad thing is done badly….”too much of a good thing…” You are all educated enough to “question” and not take anything at face value….certainly you are on the same page of so many who understand that “special interests” such as the pharmaceutical industry will treat a disease its practices and product has invited rather than change any of their practices or products. Follow the money….too bad our children are sicker than their parents were as children, and so will your kids….instead of blaming parents of allergic children….look a little further….you are poised to change the world….so stop being so lazy and do something.

  85. J sub D states: What? I’d make up figures? Inflate the numbers so my loved one would get more attention? Prostitute my integrity because my sister died? Jump on a soapbox and shout, “Pay attention to this obscure problem because it affects me personally”?

    Wrong! Been there (brain cancer), haven’t done that.
    —————–
    J sub D, I’m sorry to hear abour you medical condition and realize you are only thinking about something you apparently are CERTAIN the statstistics are accurate about. No one is saying cancer is a myth and that it’s really patients with cancer exaggerating/overreacting and making the death of these such patients up! Even stating they must have died of something else!

    We’ll I’m going to start a conspiracy that the Cancer Society is using inaccurate statistics about the actual cases of brain cancer. They are exaggerated because they don’t go back after they are proven benign or not and take off the patients from the records who in fact don’t have cancer. I’m no expert on the subject, but I know people who have it. Are you going to take this story as fact? Does it matter to you if 1 or 100 people have brain cancer? I’m sure all that matters to you is that 1.)you know you do/did 2.) it can cause death and 3.) there is no cure.

    It is the exact same situation here. It’s called a conspiracy theory~not fact and many parents are irrate because the see/live through actual experiences with their children everyday. You can’t fake anaphylaxis! Don’t you dare blame the parents for innaccurate statistics….food allergies CAN cause death, who cares EXACTLY how many. Seriously people, educate yourselves….I implore you!

  86. Also, if you have time to comment, then I’m sure you have the time to read this article with an unbiased doctor’s comments specifically about Meredith Broussard’s article. Please read:
    http://www.healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3900/19063/nuts-doctor/

  87. ” QUOTE:
    IF an illness of any type hits YOU OR YOUR family OR whoever you *may* care about (b/c most of you seem unable to have emotions), YOU would have a different story.

    What? I’d make up figures? Inflate the numbers so my loved one would get more attention? Prostitute my integrity because my sister died? Jump on a soapbox and shout, “Pay attention to this obscure problem because it affects me personally”?

    Wrong! Been there (brain cancer), haven’t done that.”
    END QUOTE
    ——–
    SO YOU have dealt with a life threatening condition and yet cannot demonstrate an ounce of compassion? YOU harp on statistics and over-inflating it to get attention? WHAT? SO it’s the parents fault b/c THEY over-inlfated the stats? READ Canico’s comment…read Risa’s comment. WAKE UP.

    HAVE YOU not realized that WITH OR WITHOUT the statistics, these kids can and still do die because of everyday regular food? AND that all it takes is simple EDUCATION to KNOW that yes, food can kill and I should NOT downplay their condition? THAT YOU can make a difference by taking on a better perspective? THAT YOU can leave a mark in YOUR life other than bashing people by HELPING people? THAT sarcasm and snarky comments like these only show just how weak one’s appreciation is for life–and NOT just YOURS. BUT alas, you like to PICK at the CONSPIRACY theory without truly understanding and LEARNING what this is about…you like to stand behind a journalist who wrote a book about FAILED relationships and then calls herself an allergy expert b/c she’s allergic to VERMOUTH. HA! OH, how one must laugh at the amount of ignorance and pompous attitude that trickles down to the followers.

    I am sincerely sorry you have had to deal with brain cancer. I would have thought having to deal with a life and death situation would have helped you tap into some appreciation of life. I have many friends who ARE cancer survivors and I believe in THEIR cause in educating the masses about the PREVENTION of cancer (NO, NOT b/c of the STATS, but b/c it’s about appreciating LIFE)…and I have yet to meet someone who lacks so much compassion as you and some of the other posters. It just seems you guys don’t get it until it happens to you: because the statistics SUPPOSEDLY are skewed and that it SEEMS over-inflated, then YOU SHOULD NOT care about kids dying from food B/C THEY don’t count. “SO MANY PEOPLE DIE!” YES. *THAT* shows just how much you guys have evolved. BACK TO THE CAVES!

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