Remember the 2005 news story about the girl who'd died after kissing her boyfriend. Because he ate peanuts earlier in the day? Well a curious and resourceful writer interviewed the pathologist - the girl died of an asthma attack attributed to smoking pot. But we never heard about that.
Not until Meredith Broussard's article "Everyone's gone nuts: The exaggerated threat of food allergies" in Harper's January issue. Broussard pokes holes in the widespread belief that peanut allergies lead to hundreds of deaths per year. She reports the data behind peanut allergies and finds we've saddled ourselves and our kids with more anxiety than necessary. She concludes there's no evidence more kids have food allergies than in the past. I do think, however, she may be wrong on this point. More than a few studies do show a rise in allergies. But I admire her courage in tackling such an emotionally-charged topic. We do need some reason in this realm.
You can also catch Broussard talking about the so-called peanut allergy epidemic with Leonard Lopate at NPR. Be sure to read the comments from angry listeners, especially the parents of children with life-threatening allergies. One such mother thanks Broussard because she's worried about all the non-allergic kids out there clogging the peanut-free tables, obscuring the plight of the truly allergic.
You'll have to find the January Harper's to read her interview - you can't get it for free on-line.