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Take me out to the ballgame -- hold the peanuts

July 25, 2008 | 12:03 pm

Newpeanuts The San Diego Padres tried it. And the St. Louis Cardinals. Now the Seattle Mariners are joining the list of teams to dedicate some stadium sections (during certain games) as peanut-free zones.

As the Seattle Times reports, those sections will be thoroughly cleaned before the game and peanut products will be banned during the events. Beer, of course, should be fine.

The reason, of course, is peanut allergies. Food Allergy Buzz is keeping track of the growing list of peanut-free games, zones and skyboxes.

Some folks are less than happy about the restrictions. And Allergy Moms, for one, seems baffled by the criticism, saying: "Most of the commenters do not realize that trace amounts of an allergen, and in some cases airborne allergens, can cause allergic reactions. And for the most part, these peanut free sections are created so that children can attend these games."

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that eight foods account for 90% of food-allergy reactions: cow's milk, eggs, peanuts (I KNOW they're not real nuts -- put that pen back down), tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soybeans and wheat. It says that 3.3 million Americans are allergic to peanuts and 6.9 million are allergic to seafood and that, combined, food allergies cause ... 150 deaths annually.

Such allergies are the source of constant worry and eternal vigilance on the part of sufferers (and their parents), with the mercifully rare death making headlines across the nation. Here's more information on allergies -- special allergy alerts available -- from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

But here's an interesting observation published in the Boston Globe awhile back. The writer, a pediatrician and parent, says: "Although, as a parent, it may seem that peanut allergies have reached epidemic proportions, the evidence is surprisingly thin."

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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