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Published on January 22nd, 2013 | by No Artificial

Chlorinated Tap Water Linked to Food Allergy Epidemic

A new study has linked chlorine exposure to both food and environmental allergies.

Chlorine is used globally to purify water supply as the ultimate defense against waterborne microbiological infection. But the common practice of adding chlorine chemicals to tap water for public safety reasons may not be as safe as we have all been told.

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have discovered that the use of chlorine in water is associated with a rising number of people with food allergies.

They found that adults with high levels of dichlorophenol, a chemical by-product of chlorine, were as much as 80 percent more likely to also suffer from some type of intolerance to certain foods.

Lead study author Dr Elina Jerschow, an assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said the research “shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy.”

She has also added that past studies “have shown that both food allergies and environmental pollution are increasing in the United States” and 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.”

As for chlorinated tap water, Jerschow explained that transferring to bottled water as a way to reduce the risk of developing a food allergy may not prove successful. “Other dichlorophenol sources, such as pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables, may play a greater role in causing food allergy,” she added.

Jerschow’s study looked at 10,348 participants in a US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005-2006. While the findings are surprising, Jerschow said further work is needed to “confirm” the association between dichlorophenol and allergy.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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