Lab Allergies Force Some Scientists To Take Cover Or Change Careers

Doctors warn researchers not to ignore adverse reactions to animals and other menacing specimens SAN DIEGO--Who would have thought that a rabbit could send a scientist to the emergency room? Or that butterfly scales would force an entomologist to wonder about his future as a scientist? Or that a Nobel laureate could be seized by a sneezing fit brought on by the subject of her award-winning work? The truth is, it's actually quite common for scientists to suffer allergic reactions to their own

Rex Dalton
Nov 11, 1990
Doctors warn researchers not to ignore adverse reactions to animals and other menacing specimens
SAN DIEGO--Who would have thought that a rabbit could send a scientist to the emergency room? Or that butterfly scales would force an entomologist to wonder about his future as a scientist? Or that a Nobel laureate could be seized by a sneezing fit brought on by the subject of her award-winning work?

The truth is, it's actually quite common for scientists to suffer allergic reactions to their own research specimens, according to Lanny J. Rosenwasser, a Denver physician and immunologist. This is especially so when lab animals are involved. Rosenwasser estimates that anyone handling laboratory animals has a 25 to 35 percent chance of developing an allergy to that creature, whether it be a cockroach, mouse, rabbit, or squirrel monkey. The reactions can be sudden and severe, forcing the scientists to don face masks and...