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Tap Water Chemical Dichlorophenol Linked With Food Allergies: Study

Monday, December 17, 2012 20:00
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Common food allergies in children
Common food allergies in children (Photo credit: Adams999)

A chemical used in tap water chlorination and pesticides for produce has been associated with increased risk of food allergies, according to a new study in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Researchers found that people with the highest levels of dichlorophenols in their urine also have higher odds of having a food allergy.

However, the researchers cautioned that the findings don’t mean that people should stop
drinking tap water so that they don’t have dichlorophenols in their systems — rather, the dichlorophenols probably come from pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables.

The findings are based on 10,348 people who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2006. Of those people, 2,548 had detectable levels of dichlorophenols in their urine, and of those people, 2,211 were actually used for the study.
Of those 2,211 people, 411 had food allergies, while 1,016 of them had some sort of environmental allergy, researchers found.

“High urine levels of dichlorophenols are associated with the presence of sensitization to foods in a US population,” the researchers wrote. “Excessive use of dichlorophenols may contribute to the increasing incidence of food allergies in westernized societies.”

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