I had the pleasure of being a guest on Jim Richards’ NEWSTALK1010 radio show yesterday. I was asked to comment on the controversy concerning the request of Donna Giustizia, whose child attends grade 8 at St. Stephen Catholic Elementary School, to have a cluster of oak trees relocated from adjacent property owned by the City of Vaughan. Ms. Guistizia made this request to Vaughan’s City Council’s Committee Of The Whole last week arguing that the oak trees are dropping acorns which are tree nuts, the school has nut safety protocols in place, all nut allergic students are very frightened by the risk posed by acorns that fall onto paths they use, and that students could use the acorns to torment or bully allergic students. City councillors referred the matter to staff to prepare a report on the issue. In the meantime, school custodians and administrators have been picking up the nuts.
Please listen to the interview by clicking on the NEWSTALK image below. While acorns are tree nuts (think of them as oak nuts), acorns have a different type of protein than allergenic tree nuts. This means it’s highly unlikely that anyone with nut allergies would be allergic to acorns. If a person does have acorn allergy, it needs to be determined with an Allergist if it’s an anaphylactic allergy through testing and the patient’s history. Having an anaphylactic allergy to acorns is even more unlikely: There has never been a death recorded in the scientific literature from acorn allergy. There are only 2 cases of anaphylaxis to acorn reported, and in both cases the facts show that the reaction may have been to another substance.
For these reasons, I do not support the removal of oak trees as a protective measure, whether they are directly on the school property or just nearby, like these ones. I hope that this information helps quell the anxiety the nut allergic students have been feeling,and that everyone can now attend school with confidence.
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