Pesticides in tap water may contribute to food allergies

Posted at 6:41 PM, Dec 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-03 22:26:14-05

(CBS) – Researchers say pesticides and tap water could be causing more Americans to develop food allergies.

A large-scale study published in the journal of the American College of Allergy looked at over 10,000 people and found nearly a quarter of them tested positive for a chemical used in pesticides and in water chlorination.

Dichlorophenols are incertain pesticides that are known to kill bacteria, and in theory, the report concludes they could be killing the naturally occurring bacteria in humans’ digestive systems, causing food allergies.

High levels of the chemical in the human body are associated with a low tolerance for certain kinds of foods.

Food allergies are on the rise in the United States,with 15 million people reportedly affected. The number of young people who had a food or digestive allergy increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more on the study, on CBS: