Chlorine added to water can make you more prone to allergies, according to research conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Chlorine contains dichlorophenols to cleanse the water from germs, but if ingested this can weaken the food tolerance of some people. The chemical also gets into the water from fruits and vegetables that have been treated against pesticides.
The study was carried out on more than 2,000 people with food allergies. It was discovered that people with high level of dichlorophenols in their urine had an 80% greater chance of having a food allergy, including allergies to peanuts and milk.
Elina Jerschow, assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said: “Our research shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy. This chemical is commonly found in pesticides used by farmers and consumer insect and weed control products, as well as tap water.”
Not only did the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology journal conclude there are associations between high levels of dichlorophenol exposure and food allergies, but the group with the highest level of chemicals had a higher chance of having environmental allergies like hay fever.
Experts agree that food allergies are also on the increase in Britain, and that this increase is not solely the result of people visiting doctors more regularly.
Dr Jerschow said that previous studies have shown that both food allergies and environmental pollution are increasing, but that more research was needed to confirm a link between these factors.
A spokesman for Thames Water told the Telegraph: “We chlorinate water once it has been fully processed, so there is no organic matter in it.”
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