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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:16 am
Posts: 9
Hi there I'm new here - I have a question. At our school I said it was okay for the classes to have a dessert with nuts on it as long as everyone washed after - the teachers instructed the students to do this however..... kids were running around etc. And sure enough you guessed it nuts were on surfaces... the teacher and I washed down all the desk tops, backs, seats etc.. however on a shelf I even found nuts. I went home feeling just sick about this. So my question is - does anyone know how long a surface will remain contaminated if a nut has come in contact with it. I have never really thought about this.. but does a protein break down after time and therefore will it be harmless to our children - or once there (because of the oils) will the surface it was in contact with (even from hands that held nuts) remain contaminated?

I've searched the web but having trouble finding anything researched about this issue.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6474
Location: Ottawa
Glad you found us, welcome!

Good question and I must confess I'm not really sure.
I do know that hand sanitizers don't remove allergens, they just kill germs. It is the rubbing action that loosens the protein and the wiping action that removes it.

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At our school I said it was okay for the classes to have a dessert with nuts on it as long as everyone washed after - the teachers instructed the students to do this however..... kids were running around etc. And sure enough you guessed it nuts were on surfaces... the teacher and I washed down all the desk tops, backs, seats etc.. however on a shelf I even found nuts.


I would say that what you thought in theory was feasible, in practice does not work. Because the school was not able to safely control the exposure to the allergen (you found the actual allergen on a shelf) you may want to request that nuts not be allowed in the classroom.

It only takes 1/8000 of a piece of a peanut to cause a reaction in people with peanut allergies.

Mention your finding to the principle as they are the ones who make the school policiy. Ask what they plan to do to make school safe for your child.

Let us know how you make out.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:16 am
Posts: 9
You know it is not even specifically the school situation I was questioning - as this school I must say is awesome! And I have talked to them already - they were great. I guess on an overall topic of any of us with children with allergies and touching things that someone else may have touched with an allergen - is back to the main question of how long does a protein stay intact before it breaks down and is no longer an issue. I will keep researching and if anyone knows that would be great.

I must say though that you did clarify the "wipe" issue I was wondering about - as we all "wipe" down tables and such before our child eats or play - but I was just unsure how we were getting rid of the protein - as wipes don't "kill" the protein - but makes perfect sense that we are wiping them away - our allergy doctor always said soap and water is the best as you are washing it "away" and down the drain - so guess makes sense with the wipes - maybe on some surfaces we need to wipe more than once with fresh wipes or even carry - dry paper towels to "wipe off" in the end.

I never use "hand sanitizers - the ones with alchohol you know the ones that you don't need to wipe off (won't use a brand name here but we all know which ones)... I wonder if they "kill" the protein with the alcohol in it? I don't trust them and don't use them - but if they kill germs one does wonder if they would kill a "protein"..., another issue I cannot find an answer to but again like you would rather "wipe" off little hands.

Thanks again for your response.. school situatation is under control - just wondering re the bigger picture.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Welcome to our forum, Miley 05!

Here's a study that was done by Johns Hopkins in 2004. Showed a wipeup with a good cleaning liquid/spray was quite effective:

Most Household Cleaners Remove Peanut Allergens, Hopkins Study Shows

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2004) — Peanut allergy sufferers and their parents take note: a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study finds that most soaps and household cleaners will remove enough peanut allergen from hands and dining surfaces at home and in schools to prevent an attack.

Comparing how well assorted cleaners or plain water remove Ara h 1, the most common peanut allergen, the Hopkins researchers showed that most products performed well, although dishwashing liquid left tiny traces of Ara h 1 on some cafeteria tables, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer left residual allergen on half of the hands tested.

"It's possible that dish soap creates a film over eating surfaces, making it difficult to clean underneath," says Children's Center pediatric allergist Robert A. Wood, M.D., senior author of the study. "But our results suggest that even if a child licked the table vigorously after it had been cleaned with dish soap, he probably still couldn't get enough allergen to cause a reaction."

Wood says the bigger concern to emerge from the study was the failure of hand sanitizers, frequently seen by teachers as more convenient than sending children to the bathroom to wash up, to eliminate Ara h 1. "Their use may not really remove the allergen, but just spread it around," he says.

Rest of article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 013634.htm

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
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Location: Toronto
Also, there's Mount Sinai's study on casual peanut contact.

See the results/conclusion:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12847496

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:16 am
Posts: 9
Thank you sooooo much! This is exactly the information I was looking for! You made my day!


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