Legume Pollen and Peanut Allergy

Posted on: Mon, 06/25/2001 - 4:11pm
Tom Ogren's picture
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I'm interested in kicking off some discussion if I can about legume pollen and how it may well be considerably dangerous for those with allergy to peanuts.
Exposure to this pollen from landscape plants is more common now than ever and in some areas it is extensive.
Last year I published an article on this subject (The Peanut in Your Garden) in the New Scientist magazine, published from London. There was considerable attention paid to the subject in Europe but little so far in America.

I am concerned about cross-reactive responses with legume pollen. Certain types of landscape legumes, trees & shrubs in particular, release large amounts of airborne pollen and allergy to them are already common, especially in the localities where these are planted.
I see these cross-species and cross-family reactions frequently. Example: Someone becomes allergic to almonds and then they have the propensity to also become allergic to cherries. Why?
Cherries and almonds are both in the Rose family and additionally connected, both are in the genus Prunus. Furthermore, of the Prunus group, these two species are frequently wind-pollinated, unlike say, apricots or peaches.
My concern is legume pollen and how it relates to those who already have an allergy to peanuts. From what I have seen already with pollen-related allergies and pollen/food related allergy, it makes total sense that this is an area of concern--especially since peanut allergy is so acutly dangerous.
In California acacia trees and groundcovers (both are legumes)are increasingly being used, especially by the State highway department, CALTRANS.
In Arizona and Nevada and some other SW states, acacia, mesquite and other legume trees are again being used in urban areas more and more.
In many other states there has beeen much increased use of Gleditsia tricanthos, Honey Locust trees. These in nature are monoecious and always have both sexes on the same trees. The ones being planted en mass though, are "improved" cultivars (clones) and they are all "seedless" or "podless." This is because they are now all male--and as such they release pollen but don't trap any of it.
I'm interested in any and all reactions on this subject.

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Tom Ogren

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 2:30am
arachide's picture
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Joined: 08/16/2000 - 09:00

Makes me wonder if someday soon, peanut allergy will have to be reclassified as an environmental allergy as well as a food allergy.

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 4:30am
Tom Ogren's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2001 - 09:00

Archide,
I like to use the term, "biopollution" when talking about urban pollen levels. Since in our cities we are in charge of what we plant, the pollen we end up with is of our own making.
We can choose to have either very low amounts of pollen or very high levels. Peanut allergy is serious and dangerous and excess legume pollen in the city air is a harazard for any and all with allergy to peanuts.
I agree with you totally. Perhaps we do need a new classification for this.
Tom [url="http://www.allergyfree-gardening.com"]www.allergyfree-gardening.com[/url]
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Tom Ogren

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 10:11am
BENSMOM's picture
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Joined: 05/20/2000 - 09:00

Thanks for the link to the website. Every time I want to plant something, I wonder if it's going to cause us to sneeze!

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 1:10pm
Tom Ogren's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2001 - 09:00

Bensmom,
Cute webname you have there. I have grown twin daughters and for years my wife and I were known to most everyone as, "the Twins mom and dad."
Tom

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 2:18pm
rebekahc's picture
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Joined: 12/02/1999 - 09:00

Wow! Mesquite is a legume?? I'm very allergic to mesquite but never realized it could be related to my peanut and soy allergies. My in-laws moved to West Texas for a few years. I went to visit them about 3 or 4 times. My first visit I was fine or having only very mild symptoms, my second/third visit(s) I had mild to moderate hay fever symptoms. My last visit was terrible - nose POURING, throat itching, eyes running and swelling, hives, etc, etc, etc. I assumed the reaction was to something environmental and mesquite and sagebrush seemed to be the most prevalent things there. Since I knew I had tested positive for mesquite in the past I figured that was the most likely culprit. Last year I was skin tested and had a pretty strong reaction to the mesquite - sagebrush wasn't on the test.
Rebekah

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 2:46pm
bunkysmom's picture
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Joined: 06/17/2001 - 09:00

I think what you're saying makes perfect sense. We live in Dallas where there seems to be an abundance of hackberry, pecan, and cedar elm trees, as well as ozone action days. As of now, the only pollen in the air (as reported on the evening news) is mold and some grass. My question is, how can the ozone that is trapped cause such horrible reactions for asthmatics? Is there pollen in there too? For the past two weeks with ozone action days, my PA daughter and I have been suffering standard allergy symptoms along with wheezing (we're both asthmatic). Do you know how one affects the other?
Thanks for your time-
bunkysmom
PS- Very impressed by your book. Is it available in libraries too? In the midst of landscaping projects around the house. I will definitely use your book as a design tool.

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 5:01am
Tom Ogren's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2001 - 09:00

Rebekah,
Sure, mesquite is a legume, and so is palo verde, and catalpa tree, and about 12,000 other species!
They are using legumous trees much more than in the past now in newer landscapes and this over-use is leading to over-exposure to legume pollen. I wonder myslef if this isn't helping to drive the number of cross-related peanut allergies in the first place.
Tom [url="http://www.allergyfree-gardening.com"]www.allergyfree-gardening.com[/url]

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 5:02am
Tom Ogren's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2001 - 09:00

Rebekah,
Sure, mesquite is a legume, and so is palo verde, and catalpa tree, and about 12,000 other species!
They are using legumous trees much more than in the past now in newer landscapes and this over-use is leading to over-exposure to legume pollen. I wonder myslef if this isn't helping to drive the number of cross-related peanut allergies in the first place.
Tom [url="http://www.allergyfree-gardening.com"]www.allergyfree-gardening.com[/url]
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Tom Ogren

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 5:12am
Tom Ogren's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2001 - 09:00

Bunkysmom,
I'm still not sure if I have the hang of this forum and how to post. I see my last reply was doubled.
My book, Allergy-Free Gardening, July 2000, from Ten Speed Press, is in over 1500 libraries in the US right now. If your own library doesn't have it, just request that they get it and the will pick up a copy. I luckily got very good reviews in Library Journal, so that helped with the libraries.
About the pollen counts: I don't trust them. They leave out a lot of things/ Many kinds of pollen are just grouped as "other."
The pollen is collected from very high up and the traps miss many species' pollen that has a higher specific gravity and doesn't float up high often.
I like to collect pollen to ID at ground level and sometimes will take samples from spider webs, which make very decent pollen traps! I like to see what kind of pollen is around down where we actually live.
Most people know very little botany and many if not most allergists know almost no horticulture. There is a real gap here and this is pretty much where I fit in. You can go to someones house, find their yards full of highly allergenic landscape plants, and the people there may not have been tested for any of the things growing right in their own yards. I see that all the time. Often I find shrubs, totally full of highly allergenic pollen, growing right under someone's bedroom window. The soluton there is pretty clear cut.
Tom [url="http://www.allergyfree-gardening.com"]www.allergyfree-gardening.com[/url]
------------------
Tom Ogren

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 7:10am
bunkysmom's picture
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Joined: 06/17/2001 - 09:00

Thanks, Tom. I'm going to see if I can find it online at the library. If not, it's off to the bookstore! Is there any way I could check the pollen count in my own backyard?
bunkysmom [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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