Peanuts are getting banned from public spaces left and right, and for good reason: For a growing number of people, they’re a death sentence.
But what’s the reason for the shocking growth in allergies to peanuts and other foods? One idea explored in a recent CBS report is the hygiene theory: American society has grown so clean, we’re not developing resistance to allergenic substances like we once did. Foods that once might have produced a trivial reaction, or none at all, now destroy the immune system.
Some epidemiologists see a way to fight back: By making sure young children receive plenty of the problem foods, rather than having them withheld. Peanut growers hope this theory sticks and leads to their product being rehabilitated with the public.