Frightening faucet news: new research suggests that the tap water you drink may give you food allergies. According to ScienceDaily, a new study has found a correlation between a chemical found in drinking water and a rise in food allergies.
The chemical in question is called dichlorophenol, which is added to drinking water in order to chlorinate it. Most people who consume dichlorophenol are unaware that it is even in their water.
Since the study, published by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, points to a correlation rather than a causation, it would be erroneous to say the conclusions are definitive. However, after testing more than 10,000 Americans, the research demonstrated that those who had the highest levels of dichlorophenol in their urine were far more likely to have food allergies, providing some cause for alarm.
Unfortunately, even if you avoid tap water, dichlorophenol is still likely to find its way into your body. In addition to water, this same chemical is found in many pesticides that farmers use on their crops. In fact, the research hints that dichlorophenol consumed via produce may put eaters at a greater risk for food allergies than tainted tap water.
Currently, 15 million people in the United States have food allergies. Since the 1990s, food allergies have increased by 18%, indicating that something new is triggering these conditions in more people.
Though adults tend to assume that they are immune to new allergies past a certain age, Dr. Elina Jerschow, the author of the research, dispels that myth. She tells CNN, “Adult allergies to foods are on the rise. That certainly includes shellfish and fish allergies, but also peanuts.” While she stresses the exact cause is unclear, she acknowledges a visible connection between new food allergies and dichlorophenols.
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