Steve L. Taylor, Ph.D., Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP), University of Nebraska, Lincoln NE and Sarah M. Boudreau-Romano, M.D., Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago IL
Slinky® Brand and More Fingerprint Science kit, also labeled as Experiment #163: This kit comes with multiple components packaged in a box including a small plastic bottle of white powder to use when making the fingerprints. Dr. Boudreau-Romano identified this kit as the possible cause of a severe allergic reaction involving upper airway swelling and requiring epinephrine and antihistamine for treatment in a 9 year-old boy who received this kit as a holiday present. This child has multiple food allergies including wheat allergy. This child reportedly has a history of upper airway reactions occurring in poorly ventilated pizza restaurants and described this reaction as similar. The FARRP Laboratory subsequently identified the white powder in these kits as containing a large concentration of gluten. We surmise that the white powder is wheat flour. The identity of the powder is not described on the bottle or elsewhere within the kit. A call to the toy distributor indicated that the toy was assembled in China and they believed that the white powder was corn starch.
We wish to alert the parents of wheat-allergic children that the white powder in this fingerprint kit is wheat flour. Exposure to this powder could cause reactions though direct contact, inhalation, or even ingestion.
February 13, 2016