Who would imagine that there is milk protein in chalk? But a newly published study from Spain reported that the primary protein in milk (casein) is commonly used to make dustless chalk, the kind teachers often prefer to help keep their hands and classrooms clean. The Spanish researchers found that when particles of this chalk are released into the air they can trigger coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and even life-threatening asthma attacks when inhaled by youngsters with milk allergy. Other symptoms of inhalation among allergic kids are nasal congestion, sneezing and a runny nose. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology an estimated 300,000 children in the United States suffer from milk allergy. Allergists once believed that most kids outgrow their milk allergies by age three, but recent research has shown that many school-age children are still affected. It is now believed that 80 percent of affected individuals will outgrow milk allergy by age 16. The study was published in the May 2013 issue of the Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology.
Carlos H. Larramendi et al, “Allergenicity of casein containing chalk in milk allergic schoolchildren,” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, May, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2013.02.006.