By Bianca Bykhovsky
A popular Christmas plant has come under attack in a Bell Canada Mississauga office and is raising the question of whether society has gone too far to accommodate allergies.
Owing to an allergy complaint from an employee, Bell Canada made the controversial decision to ban poinsettias in the Mississauga complex effective Dec. 21.
The risk of an allergic reaction is quite low as long as the person is not in contact with the sap from the poinsettias, Toronto based psychologist, Howard Greenberg told Humber News.
In response to the company’s reaction, Greenberg said he is ambivalent.
“I can’t say they are doing something wrong, I just can’t say they are doing something right,” said Greenberg.
“If the risk of danger is very high, the person has to be responsible for not exposing themselves to that. If it is that type of thing where the substance is all over the place and it’s very dangerous, then I think it should be pulled,” Greenberg added.
Greenberg told Humber News that the decision was probably made to protect the company.
“The company is doing this because they do not want to get sued in this very low risk situation. In terms of risk management, it is very provocative because I don’t know how well thought out it is,” added Greenberg.
Robert Tomilson, co-founder of The Institute of Natural Health Technologies, said that “poinsettias can absolutely cause an anaphylactic reaction.”
LISTEN: Robert Tomilson on anaphylactic allergies and the danger poinsettias could pose.
Greenberg said he does not know why Bell reacted so strongly in removing all the plants, other than he believes the company was trying to reduce its own responsibility.
In terms of people exaggerating their allergies in order to gain control and attention, he said “some people do and some underplay them. There are some people who will exaggerate anything that will get them attention,” Greenberg added.