Immunology scientists link pesticides to food allergies
New American research published in the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) says that those exposed to pesticides are more likely to develop food allergies.
The study of 10,348 people found that those with high levels chemicals known as dichlorophenols (DCPs) had weakened food tolerance which causes food allergies. DCPs are found in chlorinated water, herbicides used in food production, as well as air fresheners, moth balls and repellants. It should also be noted that DCPs are used in the process for chlorinating water.
Of the 2,211 that had DCPs present in their urine, food allergy was found in 411 of these participants, and1,016 had an environmental allergy.
Author of the study and allergist Dr Elina Jerschow said that food allergies and environmental allergies were significantly increasing in the United States.
“The results of our study suggest these two trends might be linked, and that increased use of pesticides and other chemicals is associated with a higher prevalence of food allergies,” Dr Jerschow said.
Centres for Disease Control Prevention and Research statistics show the most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish. The statistics show an 18 per cent increase in food allergies between 1997 and 2007.
However, Dr Jerschow said more research needs to be done to confirm whether DCPs are the cause of allergies or whether the two are merely linked.