Posted by R. Power on Thursday, February 12, 2015
Valentine's Day - Winning!We are just a few short days away from Valentine’s Day, the perfect date night for you and your beloved, or simply a day to spoil yourself. I've definitely celebrated a few Valentine's Days while single, keeping it humble with a manicure, SATC, and a nice dinner at home. If you have allergies, asthma or even chemical sensitivities, Valentine's Day can be a bit trickier, and many of the traditional gifts/activities can present potential problems. For those who are flat out of ideas for this upcoming Saturday, here's a list of alternatives to spice up this year’s Valentine’s Day and avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional gifts.

Wining and Dining
Restaurants can be risky business if you or your better half have food allergies. Cross contamination is often a problem with dining as even foods you may not be allergic to can be exposed to a variety of allergens (wheat, peanut, eggs, dairy, seafood, etc.) during preparation. Plus, finding a restaurant that is completely allergy free can be very difficult in less urban/metropolitan areas. Instead of worrying about food allergies on this special night, show of your amazing cooking skills and make a meal that best suits his or her diet.  It will be a much more relaxing, far less crowded, and a much more enjoyable meal knowing that it’s allergy free and made from the heart. If you do insist of going out, you better have already made that reservation, and don't forget to bring along a few extra food allergy cards for the staff.

Boxed chocolates forewarn that they were made on equipment or in facilities that either process or have been exposed to common food allergens like nuts, eggs and dairy. There are chocolates out there that are allergen free Valentine's Day Chocolate - Tasty, But You Can Do Better and can be found on the web or at your local chocolatier (if you're not sure what a chocolatier is, see if you have a local one - a visit can be well worth it). There is even dairy-free chocolate available, made with substitutes like almond or rice milk. Another alternative is carob, a chocolate substitute made the seed pod of Cerotonia silique, a plant from the pea family. This substitute is caffeine free, naturally sweet and low in fat.

Gifts (Flower, Perfume, Stuffed Animals, etc.)
If you're well past your high school or even college years, these old standards are likely pretty cliché. A trip to your local grocery store on Valentine's Day will most certainly offer a veritable parade of procrastinating men, hurriedly picking up flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and stuffed teddy bears. The humor of that scene aside, all of these things can be potential triggers for allergies, asthma or chemical sensitivities. It's probably best to ignore the commercials. Don't listen to that Vermont Teddy Bear commercial telling you that on the top of a woman's wish list is an oversized stuff bear or a teddy in a biker outfit (I mean really?). Flowers can hold pollen and perfumes can be inappropriate for those with environmental allergies or chemical sensitivities. Save your money and check out my Romantic Alternatives this Valentine’s Day.

I can't think of many ladies (and even some gentlemen) who wouldn't want to be spoiled with some pampering. Nothing is as simple and classy as a nice set of manicured nails. Valentine's Day Sweets - Because Nothing Says I Love You Quite Like Sugar and Butter!With many local boutiques carrying "Five-Free" nail polishes, you can relax knowing that you aren't decorating your hands with formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor or formaldehyde resin. Before you make your reservation though, call ahead to ask if they use any type of air cleaner or salon air purifier to keep down the odor/fragrance.

I don’t know anyone who's allergic to music. Buy some tickets and enjoy a night of entertainment and some dancing together. How much more romantic can you get?

Let's change gears a bit and highlight a couple ideas for the man in your life.

Take Him Out to a Ball Game
Any kinda game - soccer, football, rugby, baseball, basketball, hockey, wear his team's colors, steal his jersey and get hyped! And don't worry about giving back the jersey because you look better in it anyways. Spending Time Together on Valentine's DayAround Valentine's Day, basketball and hockey are your best bets, and there are pro and college games of each.

Action packed fun that will test your shooting skills and pain tolerance (maybe a bit oversold, feels like a quick sting then it's gone). Partner up or compete against each other. Nothing says, "I love you" like zinging your better half with bunch of paintballs!

Brewery Tour
Unless he has celiac disease, brewery tours are a fun way to enjoy his favorite microbrew, and take home a new draft glass to your cupboard or mini bar! And if you don't like beer, it's ok because you're going to need a designated driver anyways.

Your activity or gift doesn't have to be extravagant, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Ultimately, these are just a few options to break away from some of the more run-of-the-mill Valentine's Day gifts. And by keeping in mind some of the pitfalls of allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities, you can not only share an enjoyable day/evening with your loved one but a safe one as well.

Author: R. Power

Posted by R. Power on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
PURE RoomAs the travel and hospitality industries grow to meet the needs of a more and more diverse clientele, you might notice how they are becoming more accommodating to travelers with allergies and chemical sensitivities. Earlier I wrote a blog about Swiss Airlines creating a plane just for individuals with allergies and MCS. Now allergy relief can be found at a variety of hotels, most recently Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, who have teamed up with PURE to create allergy friendly hotel rooms, in the hopes of making travel easier for everyone.

Using a seven step purification process called the Pure Process, PURE Rooms are cleaned, sanitized and freed from the common pollutants that may irritate individuals. This process includes:
  • Deep Clean Air-Handling Unit - This heat and a/c unit includes air filters and an enzyme based drip pan tablet to eliminate allergens.
  • PURE Tea Tree Oil Cartridge - Installed in the air handling unit to maintain sanitized conditions with its antimicrobial properties.
  • Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning - Patented PURE clean solution is used to remove debris and allergens from carpets and upholstery.
  • One Time Shock Treatment - This consists of a four hour ozone shock treatment which destroys nearly all of the mold and bacteria, as well as odors, in every nook and cranny of the room, leaving the room fresh.
  • PURE Shield - A bacteriostatic barrier is applied to all room surfaces to deter bacterial growth and pathogens from inhabiting the room.
  • Air Purification System - a 24-hour defense against allergens. Proven by the FDA to kill 98%-100% of bacteria and viruses.
  • Allergy Friendly Bedding- PURE uses only micro-fiber, monofilament mattress and pillow encasements for allergy barrier bedding.
PURE Rooms Can Be Found at Many of the Hilton Worldwide HotelsPURE Rooms Can Also Be Found at Many of the Hyatt Hotels There are over 250 Pure Rooms in U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, so to many places you travel, you can enjoy a vacation without worrying about sleeping with allergens, chemicals, mold, or who knows what else the last occupant brought along with them! PURE Rooms can be found in Doubletrees, Hiltons, Hyatts, and Mariotts across the U.S. I easily found four hotels with PURE Rooms in Buckhead, Midtown and even at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport here in Atlanta. Even if you don't have allergies or chemical sensitivities to cater to, you can relax and enjoy a room that is clean and irritant free.

As a couple final notes, if those hotels are in your budget, then chances are a PURE Room will be too. After checking a few, I found the nightly rate wasn't that much higher than a standard room. The ozone shock treatment is going to be particularly off-putting for many people. Ozone is a powerful lung irritant, particularly for those dealing with asthma, chronic bronchitis or COPD. While it is recommended by no one (except those who sell or produce ozone generators) to use ozone generating devices in occupied rooms, there is considerable debate over their use in unoccupied rooms, as in the instance with PURE Rooms.

Ozone is billed as a way to remove odors, mold and pathogens, but the efficacy of this type of treatment for mold and pathogens is still a source of contention. Ozone shock treatments are used in everything from remediation jobs of homes that Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer - Never a Bad Ideahave been damaged by flood or fire and even in vehicles. As a space is properly aired out, the level of ozone dissipates over a number of hours. I would venture to say that risk of ozone exposure is going to be low in PURE Rooms, but it never hurts to ask before you book. It is also worth noting that the ozone shock treatment isn't mentioned directly on the list of the seven steps of the PURE Room website, but is listed on a couple of the hotel's sites in their descriptions of the process. Lastly, if a PURE Room is perhaps a bit of overkill for you, bringing along a couple pillow covers and keeping an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your pocket never hurts.

For more information on PURE Rooms or the PURE Room process, visit

Author: R. Power

Tags: MCS, Allergies
Posted by kevvyg on Friday, September 27, 2013
One of my favorite parts of my home is my bed. I'm very keen on my pillows, sheets and comforters (because they're what help me get all of my beauty sleep!). However I'm well aware that my bedding was likely made with pesticides, chemical treatments ("wrinkle free" or "stain resistant"), dyes and flame retardants. Though things as regular as bedding do not affect me or my health, for someone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or very sensitive skin, the residue of these Raw Cottonchemicals can make sleep a real struggle.

For many with MCS, being particular about bedding isn't an option, it's a necessity. Most bedding is not organic and can irritate sensitive skin, causing allergic reactions, dermatitis, itching, swelling or worse. All of these things can leave you feeling tired instead of refreshed and reenergized in the mornings.

Though most are familiar with organic food, what's the deal with - organic - cotton? Merriam Webster defines organic as "of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides". So now let's take a look at cotton.

Cotton, a fibrous plant of the Gossypium genus is akin to okra and cacao and has been internationally domesticated for centuries, from Australia to Alabama. However, organic commercial cotton production has been on the rise for the past decade. Unlike the majority of cotton currently grown in the U.S., organic commercial cotton is not genetically modified. It is also grown in an organic environment meaning it is often manually cultivated, grown in organic soil, and not treated with fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

Luckily, offers a variety of bedding made from 100% certified organic cotton to help make your bed as heavenly (and healthy!) as possible:
  • Allergy Armor Organic Cotton BlanketsAllergy Armor Organic Cotton Sheets - GOTS certified, these 300 TC sheets are soft and comfortable. Lacking chemical finishers and dyes, you can find sheets for any size bed in basic, cream or white colors, which match any bedding.
  • Allergy Armor Organic Cotton Blankets - We are proud to say these blankets are cut, sewn, and packed right here in our Atlanta location. They are soft and lightweight yet warm, making a great layer for your bed, anytime of the year. Available in 2 weights, 100 and 120, each blanket is constructed from USDA certified organic cotton. Choose from either the crepe weave, which has a small tighter pattern, or the waffle weave which fluffs out to a thick and luxurious pattern after the first wash and dry. You can also select from four sizes (we even have blankets for the little ones!).
  • Allergy Armor Organic Allergy Covers - In Stock and With a New DesignAllergy Armor Organic Bedding Covers - Although we have not begun making our own organic pillows, we do have organic pillow and mattress covers, perfect for those coping with dust mite allergies as well as MCS and eczema. These covers have no finishes or coatings, and have an average pore size of less than 5 microns. Just slip these covers on your favorite pillow and mattress, then apply your organic sheets or pillowcases, and you're all set!
After spending some time upstairs enjoying the soft textures of our Allergy Armor products, I'm going to invest in some good quality blankets and sheets too! Sweet dreams!

For more information on the GOTS Certification behind our organic cotton sheets and the GOTS certified fabric for our mattress and pillow covers.

Author: Rachel Power

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Allergy Armor Organic Bedding CoverOrganic fabric isn't the easiest material to come by, and as a manufacturer, we are constantly on the lookout for better raw materials. Despite enormous initial success, literally selling out of our organic barrier fabric after only a couple months, we took some time off before obtaining more material. During our break, we made a couple improvements, and will very soon be offering an even better product at the same price. So what did we improve, and how can it help you?

Since bringing the manufacturing of Allergy Armor Organic dust mite covers in-house, we looked at a few different options when it comes to raw cotton fabric. Now we are proud to introduce a redesigned and upgraded product. First, we actually reduced the average pore size our Allergy Armor Organic. Instead of 6 microns, we've managed to drop that down to just over 4. What does this mean for you? The smaller the average pore size, the more effectively, the covers can block allergens like dust mites, dander, and pollen, which means a better night's sleep for you, and fewer mornings waking up with congestion, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, or sinus pressure. This is one of the best, if not the best, available today.

The second thing we looked to improve was with the design of your covers. Unlike our basic design, we've integrated a new feature with our covers. The organic pillow covers now have an offset zipper with a sewn over flap. Once zipped up, the flap hides the zipper and slide. This gives the cover a more streamlined look and feel, more like a pillow without a cover at all. This same fabric zipper cover is also now integrated into the design of our organic mattress covers.

Allergy Armor Organic Allergy Covers are Made From GOTS Certified Organic CottonSome of the things that stayed the same? You still get quality mattress and pillow covers, made right here in the U.S. Unlike our competitors, our fabric is certified organic by the leading international organic certification agency, GOTS (Global Organic Trade Standard). The cotton is certified to be free of chemical finishers, flame retardants, dyes, harsh bleaching agents, and fertilizer/pesticide/insecticide residues. This makes our fabric a great solution for those with chemical sensitivities, eczema or sensitive skin and allergies or asthma.

We expect to begin making your new organic mattress, pillow and duvet covers in just a couple short weeks. Pre-ordering ensures that your organic allergy bedding will be made and shipped as soon as our raw fabric arrives. You can place pre-orders now, or wait until they are officially back in stock.
*NOTE: The color is now a natural cream/beige, not the older style white color. New product images coming soon!

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by Rachel on Friday, August 23, 2013
Organic Cotton for Personal Care ProductsEvery month we ladies must deal with a natural inconvenience. Luckily we have an array of products to choose from to help us with this time of the month. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to many of these products, particularly for those with chemical sensitivities. But, for women looking for an alternative to disposable sanitary napkins and tampons, there are a few options to help.

What goes into these commonly used products can sometimes have unintended consequences. Often, layers of cellulose and super absorbent polymer powder (SAPs) are the main substances used to make sanitary napkins. Cellulose comes from plant material, while the polymers are chemically derived from petroleum or wheat, and both are quite absorbent. Tampons are made from bleached cotton, rayon or a blend of the two that have been processed with a variety of ingredients such as chlorine, fragrances and super absorbent chemicals. Chlorine bleaching releases a byproduct called dioxin. Dioxins is a broad name given to large group of chemicals, but according to the World Health Organization, dioxins are absorbed by fat tissue, which can cause reproductive problems and interfere with hormones.

Along with allergic reactions, and byproduct hazards, is possible exposure to bacterial infections in a very sensitive area! Alternative Feminine Products - Diva CupA risk carried with the use of tampons is contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), an uncommon but detrimental condition that can occur if tampons have a high absorbency rate and left in for extended periods of time.

So what are the alternatives? A plethora of options can be found online, but here are some that can often be found in local pharmacies, supermarkets and grocery stores.
  • Organic Products - Some products are made from 100% organic cotton, and are pH compatible, hypoallergenic, free from SAPs, and chlorine bleaching. Other products maybe derived from wheat but free from chlorine dyes and fragrances.
  • Menstrual Cups - These alternatives often save money, and minimize waste all at once. Made from silicone, which is biocompatible with the body, these are great alternatives to bleached cotton and rayon. They can also be used for any activity from yoga to swimming. Like similar products, change 3-4 times a day and wash by hand. Avoid cups made in China, which are not FDA approved, and look for ones made in Canada or Finland.
  • Cloth Pads - If you’re the crafty type, you can easily make reusable panty liners, with colorful cotton cloth. If not, you can find sites online that will have a variety of sizes and colors, and will fit any style underwear. Cloth pads can also be made from organic cotton and naturally dyed.
Organic Cotton Feminine ProductsSome of these options may seem a little out of the ordinary or expensive. But the cost-benefit ratio of going the extra step to care for your body, and that very sensitive organ, is well worth it. Many are turning to these alternatives and are content with this slight change in lifestyle for the sake of allergic or chemical reactions.

Author: Rachel Power

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Be Careful When Choosing Your Pet ProductsAs a dog owner, keeping my dog clean and free of ticks and fleas can sometimes seem like a real chore. Over the years I have tried a few different methods in controlling fleas and ticks. Though I never used a flea collar, I have tried the shampoos and the treatments that you apply down the back of the dog. A few years ago, I stopped using both of these things, particularly after actually reading up on some of the chemicals that these products contain, mainly insecticides. (Though when a bottle of shampoo has to have a disclaimer about being toxic to aquatic life, I should have taken that as a bad sign.) Beyond potential issues with your pet's health, they can also have an adverse effect on some people.

The active ingredient in most modern tick and flea shampoos is commonly a pyrethroid, a class of organic compounds related to natural pyrethrins found in some flowers. Most household insecticides stem from this class of chemicals. The problem with many of these is that, quiet bluntly, they are toxic. Most have labels that state as much, particularly with regard to animals and aquatic life. Pyrethroids are considered safe for vertebrates since they have the enzymes and biology in place to break down these chemicals in fairly short order.

Except for cats... Ostensibly, dogs and humans can break down these insecticides in the liver in kidneys without long term effects. Because cats cannot breakdown a common pyrethroid used in flea and tick treatments, phenothrin was pulled by most manufacturers in 2006. Adverse reactions ranging from tremors and hair loss to salivation and death were reported when used with cats.

Cats notwithstanding, most pets and humans are fairly safe when using products that contain pyrethrins. Be even if these products are relatively safe for use around humans and dogs, there are still other compounds found in these can produce adverse reactions in people and pets alike.

D-Limonene (smells like oranges and sound innocuous enough, right?) is assumed to be the culprit in a case where a Pomeranian in Washington recently suffered a severe allergic reaction. The family pet developed edema throughout her body but ultimately recovered. Limonene is also used as a solvent in cleaners, air fresheners, and even glues. While D-Limonene is used commonly used in cosmetics and as an insecticide, the FDA recommends against using this hydrocarbon on cats or dogs, and some with sensitivities may develop contact dermatitis or a general sensitivity to the compound.

In another instance where chemicals in flea and tick repellents more directly impacted a person, a pet shampoo distributed by Sogeval Laboratories, Inc., with an ingredient, phytosphingosine, was associated with the death of one woman who was bathing her dog with the product. An acute asthma attack was the cause of death, and just a few days later, another asthmatic family member suffered a mild asthma attack while bathing the pet with the same product. The belief is that the particular substances used in that formulation of pet shampoo triggered the two asthma attacks in the individuals involved.

This is not to say that all pet shampoos are going to cause problem for you or your pets, but what it does highlight is two things. First, read labels. If there's something you're unfamiliar with, look for a known alternative. When you do come across an unknown compound, check online for the MSDS sheet or visit the manufacturer's website to get as much information as you can. You can then search for these compounds to find out more about them and potential hazards. This may seem like a lot, but it literally takes 10-20 minutes of searching online. Second, some ingredients in flea and tick treatments, as well as cosmetics, cleaners, and other household products, can react differently with different people (particularly those who have an existing allergic or asthmatic condition and those who have shown a sensitivity to chemicals that don't affect most others).

As a side note, for fleas and ticks, I use the Ecology Works pet shampoo. Personally, I like the smell, it lathers well, and I've yet to find a flea or tick on my dog (despite my roommates dog having fleas a couple times since we have lived together.

Author: Kevin G.

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, July 17, 2012
FDA Bans BPA in Baby BottlesThe Food and Drug Administration has officially banned the use of bisphenol A in children's sippy cups and infants bottles. Though at first glance the news may seem positive, a look closer reveals lingering problems with the FDA ruling and use of BPA in food packaging materials.

Linked to the potential health problems, BPA was labeled an "endrocrine-disrupting agent" last year by the American Medical Association. In recent years, public outcry over the use of BPA in children's bottles and sippy cups had prompted the pro-chemical group, The American Chemistry Council, to publicly push for the ban in 2011. As a spokesperson for the ACC explained, the use of BPA in children's cups and bottles, "had become an unnecessary distraction to consumers." For the chemical industry, this ruling will hopefully put consumer's minds at ease over the safety of plastic sippy cups and bottles.

For environmentalists and those who are calling for a full ban on BPA, their time will have to wait. Earlier this year the FDA denied a petition by the National Resource Defense Council calling for an outright ban on the use of BPA. In response to that petition, the FDA reaffirmed its stance that BPA is essentially safe for humans and that previous reports of exposure have been overstated. Citing a lack of enough solid evidence, the FDA upheld the use of BPA in food packaging and containers.

While research regarding potential long term health issues over the exposure to BPA continues, production of the product does not. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2.4 billion pounds of BPA was produced in 2007. With consumption of BPA containing product increasing worldwide, researchers may have trouble finding study participants who have NOT been exposed to BPA.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Tags: MCS, BPA
Posted by kevvyg on Saturday, May 26, 2012
Ogallala Hypodown BeddingFor those who were or are thinking about adding Ogallala custom pillows or comforters to your current bedding set, now is the time to act. In less than a week prices are going up. Due to and increase in the price of raw goods, prices on Ogallala's hypoallergenic pillows and comforters is going up by an average of 20%. Shop now to take advantage of pricing before the increase!

Ogallala pillows are some of the most luxurious pillows available today. Filled with their patented Hypodown, these pillows provide all of the feel and comfort of down without any of the allergic reactions. Ogallala pillows are guaranteed to NOT cause you an allergic reaction for up to TEN YEARS. No other pillow makes that kind of claim, and no brand other than Ogallala can provide these kinds of custom allergy-free pillows.

Similar to the pillows, Ogallala blankets are filled with the patented blend of down and Syriaca clusters. Customized to the size, fill power and design you want, each Ogallala hypoallergenic comforter is crafted to provide you comfort and warmth all year round. Aside from pillows and comforters you can also soften your mattress when you sink in to a fluffy down mattress pad

So whether you are looking to replace a worn, old down pillow or add a new favorite comforter to your bedding, take advantage of Ogallala pricing before the June 1st increase and start sleeping better today!

Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, May 24, 2012
With Technical Bulletin 117 in 1975, California became the first state to pass legislation that required flame retardants to be a part of the sofas. From there, the law spread to encompass nearly all home furnishings that included foam, like mattresses, love seats, chair, and even tents. The provision outlines that home furnishing and items such as these must be able to withstand an open flame for 12 seconds. As the years have passed and research has shed light on the chemical flame retardants used and their impact on health, what once seemed like a universal positive now casts a different shadow.

Multiple times bills have been drafted in the California legislature - each seeking to repeal the 1975 provision. Each time the bill has failed, arguably due to heavy lobbying efforts by the chemical industry. But why has California changed course? Why is there now a push to remove the flame retardants that were once thought to protect against house fires? To answer these questions, we need to look back at the original law, why it came about and what research since that time has shown us.

Consumer safety is at the heart of fire retardant use mandate. Testimony of accounts where home furnishings were accidentally set ablaze was one original driving factor. Yet contrary to this push, the law requires that for most products, only the foam must be fire retardant. So for many home furnishings, the exterior fabric, the logical point where a fire could possibly start often requires no special coatings or treatments, and items like mattresses, require a prescription from a doctor before a mattress without flame retardants can be sold or constructed. And to play devil’s advocate, how many times have you seen a house fire where the mattress or couch was all that remained?

Research into the health effects of the chemical flame retardants used has shown that exposure to many of the chemicals used have serious health consequences, including birth defects and increased rates of cancer. Chlorinated flame retardants are common, and substances that were originally grandfathered in, like many brominated fire retardants, have since been scrapped but testing of replacement chemicals and their long term health effects is slow in coming.

Statistics show that there has been a reduction in the number of fires that have started in homes, but physicians groups and others point to an overall decrease in smoking, the use of fire-safe cigarettes (FSC) and increased use of sprinklers and smoke detectors as the cause - not chemical flame retardants. To this point, one could still argue, as many politicians and lobbyists do, that the research behind the decrease the number of fires isn’t conclusive on this point.

For those who suffer from MCS or sick-building syndrome, the nearly 2 pounds of chemical flame retardants that can be found in modern home furnishings can be a continual source of aggravation and recurring reactions. As the public becomes more aware of what is in the products we have in our home, you see a push by many industries to lower the chemical content - take VOC's in paint as a recent example.

The latest iteration of the bill to provide choice when it comes to home furnishings with flame retardants has the support of doctors, firefighters and consumer safety advocates. Because California represents the fifth largest economy in the world, a change in the California law would likely cause a change in production of home furnishings across the Canada and the US. As of now, there is no choice, but should a repeal or amendment pass, which would you choose?


Tags: MCS, VOC's
Posted by Shifrah on Friday, October 28, 2011
Today in our regular perusal of allergy-related news, we came across Five Surprising Health Hazards on

In summary, the hazards highlighted were:

  • Licorice can lead to heart attacks. The FDA recently came out with a warning that too much black licorice could lead to heart trouble in adults, especially older ones. These heart problems include arrhythmias, and are due to the glycyrrhizin in black licorice, which can cause the body's potassium levels to fall.

  • Sugar substitutes can cause diarrhea. Sorbitol can lead to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. Look for it especially in "dietetic" type candies.

  • Eye injuries from thrown eggs. Shells from tossed-around eggs can cause blood in the front of the eye, scratches to the cornea, and retinal swelling. Eye injuries reported around Halloween time confirm that this danger is real, not an imagined paranoia.

  • Lead contamination. Halloween-themed toys, from candy buckets to fake teeth, that are contaminated with lead can cause to children to ingest unsafe amounts of lead.

  • Glow stick "poisoning." Increased incidents of children ingesting the liquid found in glow sticks occur around Halloween. Though the liquid is minimally toxic, poison control facilities should be contacted if this occurs.

Another truly frightening Halloween risk is to those who have food allergies. We wonder if this danger didn't make this list because it's a "known" risk or because, as we fear, lack of awareness of the dangers of food allergies is still the norm. What do you think?

For more on Halloween and allergies, see:
Halloween Asthma Triggers
Food Allergies and Halloween: Staying Safe
Helping Food Allergic Kids Feel "Normal"

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