The family of an man who died from his nut allergy while working at an Edmonton fire hall wants to warn others about the dangers of airborne nut particles in places you wouldn’t expect.
On Oct. 2, Justin Mathews went to work at the Rossdale fire station. He was there to test the air quality because another company had just been inside sandblasting old lead paint off the walls.
His family said he was inside the building for about 20 minutes when he started having trouble breathing, walked outside and collapsed.
He went into anaphylactic shock.
“He inhaled probably a lot of walnut particles from the walnut blasting compound that was all over there,” explained Justin’s father, David Mathews.
David was told walnut shells are now being used in sandblasting because it’s environmentally friendly and healthier for workers than the silica sand used traditionally.
Justin’s mother believes her son didn’t know about the risk.
“I know sandblasting it is with the sand — never thought it would be with nuts,” Mabel Mathews said.
Justin developed his nut allergy when he was a child and all of his friends knew about it growing up.