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Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages

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11:28 CEST+02:00
A Swedish allergies association has asked Stockholm public transport officials to set aside certain carriages on the metro for those with allergies - banning nuts, animals, and strong fragrances in transit.

"I am terrified that I will get an allergic reaction when the tube is standing still in a tunnel, and I won't be able to get out," Lotta Johansson, a Stockholmer with severe nut allergies, told the Metro newspaper.

She added that even if she did manage to escape quickly, her "entire evening would be ruined" after an encounter with a peanut-muncher on the metro.

"I have to take medicine, my throat burns, and my lips look as though I've just had botox," she explained.

Johansson is one of many who have asked Stockholm's public transport agency (SL) to make things a bit easier for those with allergies. The Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association has requested that there be designated cars clearly marked as "safe."

"Around 15 percent of Sweden's population have allergies, everything from smells, animals, nuts," Maritha Sedvallson, association spokeswoman, told The Local.

"And we think these people shouldn't have to face problems in doing such simple things as commuting to work or school. 

SL, however, has rejected the appeal, saying that completely allergy-safe cars on the tunnelbana would be impractical.

"Furry animals are already not allowed," press spokesman Jesper Petterson explained. "But there are so many different allergies and so many different allergens that it would be very difficult to prevent all of them."

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Pettersson added that SL can take alternative measures, such as halting sales of peanuts in the vending machines on metro platforms, though the agency cannot prevent passengers from carrying peanuts onboard from other sources.

Back at the allergy association, Sedvallson said that such a move was obvious.

"I mean come on, this is so easy to do. This should have been an obvious move from the beginning. A small move like this would do so much to lower the risk in the first place," she told The Local.

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