Could Peanut Oil-Based Biofuels Be Dangerous For Those With Peanut Allergies?

In recent years, there has been increased focus on the use of biofuels, obtained from plants rather than from oil. Though biofuels can be derived from many plant sources, one of the most common is the peanut. Peanut oil can be used to run vehicles and many other types of engines, whether newly built or retrofitted to run on biofuels. Increased use of peanut oil prompts the question of whether it is safe for those with peanut allergies to work on, or even simply be around, such engines.

According to Dr. William Reisacher, director of the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital, the way the peanuts are processed minimized or may even eliminate the risk. In order to manufacture the peanut oil used for both cooking and biofuels, much of the problematic peanut protein is filtered out. Still, he says, some peanut oil products may still have enough protein to cause an allergic reaction.

Is this remaining peanut protein enough cause for concern? Dr. Reisacher says that it's probably not something worth worrying about. Even if there are trace amounts of peanut protein left in the oil, the way the fuel is used, including passing it through the engine, will degrade the remaining protein, rendering the oil safe for handling by those with allergies. He advises those who are still concerned to wear a mask or respirator when working with a biofuel engine that is running.

Read more about the issue here: http://www.goupstate.com/article/20110822/ZNYT04/108223019/1106/sitemaps

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