Chemicals, Food Allergies & Water (research)

Have you ever wondered if the water you are drinking is slowly poisoning you?

It is actually quite strange that I am writing about this topic today.  Emily and I are currently in Bali on our first holiday in over 2 years.

As I write this, Emily is working on her tan whilst relaxing on the pool lounger and I am sitting in a sarong whilst sweating bullets the size of watermelons.

As I was doing my weekly research I came across this, which given the current circumstances,  I  thought this was very fitting.

If you have ever been to Bali then you would know that drinking the water is never a good idea.  I must say it is very strange to be brushing my teeth with bottled water.  Luckily its not as expensive as our $99 bottled water back in Australia.

According to a new study published in the December Issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology which is the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).  Dichlorophenol which contains pesticides could be partially to blame for food allergies.

What is Dichlorophenols?

It is a type of chlorine that is found in certain pesticides that are known to kill bad bacteria, however, many researchers suggest that they could be killing the naturally occurring bacteria in our digestive systems leading to food allergies.  This particular chemical is also used in water chlorination.

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

According to allergist, Elina Jerschow, M.D., M.Sc., ACAAI.   “Our research shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy,”

These chemicals are found predominately in pesticides used by farmers and weed control products and now even in our tap water.

Among 10,348 people who participated in a US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 it was found that:

  • 2,548 had dichlorophenols measured in their urine and 2,211 were included into the study.
  • Food allergies were found in 411 of these participants
  • 1,016 had an environmental allergy.

Now you may be sitting there thinking “I only drink bottled water anyway, I am fine” However, according to Dr. Jerschow “Other dichlorophenol sources, such as pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables, may play a greater role in causing food allergies and also foods containing cocoa powder ie chocolate.” (I can hear the hearts of thousands of men & women breaking as they read this)

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention from 1997 to 2007 there has been an 18% increase in food allergies.  With this in mind I be would be very interested to see the findings of the following 10 years especially in todays society.

According to the CDC report eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat make up 90 percent of food allergies.

While the study does not conclude that pesticides are fully responsible for these allergies, it certainly raises the possibility and justifies pursuing further studies that can help decide if these pesticides are indeed, the main cause” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, who directs the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Centre at North Shore University Hospital. He was not a researcher involved in the study.

It is just another example that we as individuals need to be vigilant on what we are actually feeding our bodies.

Who knows in years to come we may all be brushing our teeth with a $178 bottle of water regardless of where we live.

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