Anaphylactic shock from walnut-based sandblasting

When I first heard this news

I was shocked and horribly sadden by the nature of what happened.

An Edmonton man died of anaphylactic shock after being exposed to a walnut-based product being used for sandblasting in the same building where he was testing air quality. On Oct. 2, David and Mabel Mathews received a call that their son, Justin Mathews, 33, had been taken to the University of Alberta Hospital.

When they arrived he was unresponsive, on a breathing machine and in a coma. “The doctors said 80 per cent of the brain is not active at all,” Mabel Mathews said.

Then came the tough decision to take him off life-support, as doctors had suggested. He died after being taken off a breathing machine five days later. Walnut dust prompted an anaphylactic reaction, causing Mathews’s throat to swell up and leaving him short of breath.

I always worry about being in a small room with any nuts, but to imagine the room being sandblasted with nuts is frankly terrifying.

Author: cubicgarden

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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