Man Dies After Nut-Based Sandblasting Is Used in Fire Hall

Slips and falls are said to be the number one cause of accidents in hotels, public building, and restaurants. They’re extremely common in the workplace and cause business owners or managers to use extra caution to make sure their employees are safe. However, now there is something else that business owners and managers need to worry about, and it may even be more dangerous than falling.

On October 2, a Canadian man named Justin Matthews went into a fire hall to test the air quality after the walls had just been sandblasted. Sandblasting sometimes uses a mixture that contains walnut shells. Matthews, who has suffered from a nut allergy since he was a little boy, unfortunately did not know that walnuts were being used and entered the fire hall.

Global News reports that Matthews was in the building for about 20 minutes when he started having trouble breathing. He went outside, collapsed, and went into anaphylactic shock.

David Matthews, Justin’s father, spoke with Global News about the incident.

“He inhaled probably a lot of walnut particles from the walnut blasting compound that was all over there,” David said.

First responders arrived at the fire hall to try and save Matthews, but it was too late. He was taken to the hospital where his family was told that he would never recover from any of the brain damage he sustained. His family decided to pull him off of life support on October 7 at the age of 33.

Experts are now saying that it’s becoming extremely common for nut-based ingredients to be used in non-edible products. This includes paint, particle board, and of course, sandblasting.

Lawyer and allergy safety expert Elizabeth Goldenberg spoke with HuffingtonPost Canada.

“Most people with allergies would not be aware that they could come into contact with those substances in those sorts of products,” Goldenberg said. “I would definitely call it a hidden danger.”

The Matthews family is now urging for signs to be posted in an area where a non-food nut-based product is being used. They also want material safety data sheets on the product to warn people if there is an allergen used.

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