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Monday, January 11, 2010

May contain nuts

With all of the stories in the news about airport security, together with traveller's tales of three hour delays at Heathrow security, I'm really not enthusiastic about getting on a plane again. But I saw a story today that gave me some hope.

Air Canada (AC.B-T1.29-0.03-2.27%) has been told to create a special “buffer zone” on flights for people who are allergic to nuts.

[From Air Canada told to provide nut-free zone - The Globe and Mail]

Brilliant! I don't want to sit next to someone who thinks that shampoo causes autism, Gordon Brown or whoever. But sadly, this isn't what they mean.

The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that passengers who have nut allergies should be considered disabled and accommodated by the airline. The CTA has advised Air Canada to come up with an appropriate section of seats where passengers with nut allergies would be seated... Air Canada stopped serving peanuts years ago, but the airline still serves cashews and other snacks that contain nuts.

[From Air Canada told to provide nut-free zone - The Globe and Mail]

Someone one with a "nut allergy" apparently sued the airline after having to lock herself in a bathroom for 40 minutes while the food services was underway, in case a molecule from someone else's cashew nut reached her. Ridiculous? Probably: will Air Canada be liable if one of the other passengers starts eating a Snickers in the nut free zone? As always, it will be lawyers who obtain maximum benefit from this attempt to alleviate the potential suffering of others. Anaphylactic shock does actually exist though, although it's not clear to me why it is so prevalent.

unless you're a character on "Heroes," genes don't mutate fast enough to have caused an 18% increase in childhood food allergies between 1997 and 2007. And genes certainly don't cause 25% of parents to believe that their kids have food allergies, when 4% do. Yuppiedom does.

[From Nut allergies -- a Yuppie invention -]

I notice that disability legislation has also been in the news in the US as well as Canada.

A group of Santa Fe residents recently attempted to get all public Wi-Fi hotspots in the city banned [because of] "electromagnetic allergies." More curious perhaps was how the group tried to use the Americans With Disabilities Act to force the city's hand

[From Santa Fe Wi-Fi Fears Keep Getting Weirder - Man sues neighbor for refusing to turn off wireless -]

Whether you can use disability legislation with respect to a disability that doesn't actually exist is an interesting point. Bear in mind that there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone is allergic to wifi. I imagine that it is only a matter of time before a judge in this United Kingdom rules that if people consider themselves to be disabled, then they are disabled and therefore covered by the appropriate equality legislation. This will happen. And then we'll all have to provide wifi free zones in our offices and streets.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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