Sensitivity training

Other doctors often wonder why I test every single one of my patients for food allergies and sensitivities.

My answer? Because more often than not, the tests come back positive.

Never before in my practice have I seen so many patients struggling with food sensitivities. The problem is absolutely worse now than ever.

And a new study points to at least one reason why.

This study appeared last month in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. And it shows that pesticides and chlorinated water–two common sources of a class of environmental toxins called dichlorophenols–could be fueling this allergy boom.

Researchers looked at data from 2,211 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The data included results from urine tests and blood tests, as well as responses to a questionnaire addressing pesticide use.

As it turns out, over 2,000 of these subjects screened above the detection limit for two types of chlorinated phenols–2.5-dichlorophenol and 2.4-dichlorophenol.

And that’s just two chemicals that the researchers were looking for.

In human cord blood, you can find close to 500 chemical compounds. Of those, 200 or so are known neurotoxins. These numbers are staggering. And we wonder why we’re so sick.

In fact, the researchers found that subjects with one or more dichlorophenol metabolites in their urine were significantly more likely to suffer from any type of allergy. Food sensitivities in particular were linked to dichlorophenol-containing pesticide use.

But it’s not just commercial farming practices to blame here. Many consumer insect and weed control products feature this chemical, as well. You can even find it in tap water.

That’s right…dichlorophenol is another one of those chemicals that the EPA allows in our tap water.

The bottom line? Food allergies have exploded right alongside environmental pollution in the United States. And yes, this could merely be a coincidence. But these findings suggest that it’s probably not–especially where pesticides are concerned.

On the bright side, they also point to a few simple ways you can help to control the damage.

Filter your water. Avoid chemical pest control products. And buy organic whenever you can.

Pesticides, Chlorinated Water May Lead to Food Allergies. Medscape. Dec 06, 2012.
“Dichlorophenol-containing pesticides and allergies: results from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.” Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Dec;109(6):420-5.