Are peanut butter bans needed?
With so many young children now allergic to peanuts, it's not unusual to find that food banned in schools. But, is it necessary to forbid peanut butter?
Rockville allergist Jerry Shier says that perhaps there has been a little bit of jumping overboard during the past decade.
He distinguishes between peanuts and peanut butter.
He points out that someone shelling and eating fresh peanuts can generate enough peanut dust in the air to have an impact on someone with a peanut allergy.
On the other hand, he says, inhaling peanut butter is "really not a risk."
He says that as long as a child knows he or she is not supposed to ingest peanut butter, he doesn't see any danger in allowing a peanut-allergic child in third grade, for instance, to sit next to a student eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
But "in a preschool setting, it's probably wise" to restrict peanut butter, he says, because such young children are often touching and grabbing things from each other.
For instance, Potomac's Diane Edwards, whose children both have allergies, points out that a child could have eaten peanut butter for breakfast, put a toy in his or her mouth and then pass it to her child