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Don't Fear the Peanut Shells in the Park

Initially the city was planning to use a peanut product as part of the prepartion of soil and grass in Lillian Webb Park, but no more.

will indeed be closed for electrical maintenance and turf renovation July 5 on all sidewalks, facilities, grassy areas, fountains and splashpads.

But people with nut allergies should not fear returning to the park when the work is completed on July 13.

The city had originally warned locals that a product called ERTH Food would be used for the turf renovation and that the substance contained peanut shells. If used, it could be dangerous to anyone highly allergic to peanuts or peanut products, said the city's website.

ERTH Food is the all-natural, organic, composted fertilizer with super-natural results. It is a unique all-in-one product that provides soil-conditioning organic matter and nutrients in one application.

Although ERTH Food compost is environmentally friendly--preserving, purifying, and restoring soil and water resources. Because organic matter enhances water and nutrient-holding capacity and improves soil structure, the use of ERTH Food can enhance productivity and environmental quality and can reduce the severity and costs of natural phenomena such as drought, flood and disease. It will not be used in this public environment.

And while the product is useful for homes and is sold at area locations, it will be avoided at the parks.

"We are not going to use that product," said Craig Mims of the Department of Public Works, Utilities & Parks for the city of Norcross. "We are planning to use a product similiar to what was used in , which was a mixture of top soil and sand."

A good thing, as those who are allergic to nuts, especially children, could have sudden and severe reactions affecting 1.3 percent of the general population. Peanut allergy affects 7 percent of brothers and sisters of persons with the allergy, according to the British Medical Journal.

The American Peanut Council found that peanut allergies are the most common cause of deaths from food allergy followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. There is no cure for peanut allergies and no therapies that eliminate or reduce the severity of peanut allergies. Current treatments only address the symptoms of an allergic reaction once it has taken place.

Strict avoidance of peanut and peanut-ingredient is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and The American Peanut Council.

Reactions can be rapid, in extreme cases proving fatal within minutes. Severe sufferers must use epinephrine to help prevent anaphylactic shock.

So fear not, Norcross; the city parks will not pose a peanut hazard.

Some information came from the British Medical Journal, 1996;313:518-521.

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Andy Darnell July 03, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Just to be 100% accurate, Howard Brothers does not sell ERTH food, but we do carry a selection of soils and mulch. We local stores appreciate the publicity though :) Buy Local. Everyone have a safe 4th.
Sarah Bakhtiari July 03, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Thanks for the correction, Andy!

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