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Sting, Skin

A Rash of Cell Phone Allergies

Coverage from the ACAAI conference in Phoenix, Nov. 12-15, cont’d

Reactions to Hair Dye, Henna Tattoos

Dr. Fonacier also explained the cause of hair dye reactions and an emerging relationship with allergic responses to temporary tattoos.

The main allergenic culprit in permanent hair dye is paraphenylenediamine, or PPD. Theoretically, Dr. Fonacier said, it shouldn’t cause a reaction when fully oxidized. PPD dye is mixed with a developer (the oxidizer), but the allergist explained that the problem is that PPD in reality is seldom completely oxdized.

This type of hair dye is popular because it looks natural and lasts – it doesn’t wash out with a just a few shampoos. Darker hair dyes contain a greater concentration of PPD, and this is where Dr. Fonacier sees a connection to temporary henna tattoos.

It is the darker tattoos that are increasingly popular that are leading to a majority of the reactions. Dr. Fonacier spoke of lesions forming that heal following treatment with antihistamines or a course of topical (and sometimes oral) corticosteroids.

Importantly, she said that PPD sensitization from tattoos is likely to persist, putting those who react in their youth at risk of responding “adversely to their attempts at hair coloring as they age.”


Expert Speaks Out Against Peanut “Bans”

Also at the 2010 annual meeting of the ACAAI, outgoing president Dr. Sami Bahna took a controversial stand on the issue of accommodating those with peanut allergies.

Dr. Bahna gave a presentation in which he argued that “banning peanuts in schools and on airplanes is unnecessary”.

“Unfortunately, life is not risk-free,” said Dr. Bahna. “A minority of people are severely allergic to peanuts, but it is not reasonable or possible to expect schools or airlines to be peanut-free. Consideration should be also given to the freedom of the vast majority of non-allergic persons. Also, peanut is not the only food that can cause severe allergy.”

While we appreciate that allergy accommodations are a subject with differing and strongly held views, Allergic Living’s editors are disappointed that this presentation was not done as one of the ACAAI’s allergy debates – as there are clearly differing views and interpretations of school and airline safety measures for those at risk of anaphylaxis.   More …

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Allergic Living acknowledges the assistance of the OMDC Magazine Fund, an initative of the Ontario Media Development Cooperation.