Pesticides in Tap Water May Be Causing Food Allergies, Says New Study

December 3, 2012

03 Dec (THE EXAMINER) – Food allergies are on the rise, affecting 15 million Americans. And according to a new study published Monday in the December issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), pesticides and tap water could be partially to blame.

Food allergies are a growing public health concern. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of U.S. children under 18 have food allergies. With 12 million Americans allergic to one food item or another, allergists from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) have focused on this in order to find traces of the causative agent.

According to the study, food allergies are on the rise partially due to the presence of pesticides in tap water. High levels of dichlorophenols, a chemical used in pesticides and to chlorinate water, when found in the human body, are associated with food allergies. While opting for bottled water instead of tap water might seem to be a way to reduce the risk for developing an allergy, according to the study such a change may not be successful.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase in food allergy of 18 percent was seen between 1997 and 2007. The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish. Food allergy symptoms can range from a mild rash to a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. The ACAAI advises everyone with a known food allergy to always carry two doses of allergist prescribed epinephrine. A delay in using epinephrine is common in severe food allergic reaction deaths.