Friday, December 07, 2012

Chlorine in tap water linked to increase in number of people developing food allergies

This is just speculation.  Maybe dichlorophenol is a byproduct of allergies or allergy treatments, for instance

Chlorine in tap water has been linked to the rising number of people developing food allergies, a study has revealed. The chemical, which is used to treat drinking water and is also present in commonly-available pesticides and household items, may weaken food tolerance in some individuals.

Researchers found adults with high levels of dichlorophenol – a chemical by-product of chlorine – in their urine, were up to 80 per cent more likely to have a food allergy.

Britain has seen a rise in food allergies in recent years, with up to ten million adults claiming to be unable to eat a variety of foods from milk to mustard – although scientists believe the figure may be exaggerated by the ‘worried well’.

Studies also estimate that four per cent of children have a food allergy. A rising number are diagnosed with gut allergies linked to common foods such as cow’s milk, wheat, soya, eggs, celery, kiwi fruit and other fruit and vegetables.

Food allergy can take the form of a sudden life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis, as well as eczema or an itchy rash. Much of the water supply in Britain is chlorinated to kill germs, although experts say it is at much lower levels than in the US.

They point out that, for British households at least, certain common household products are more likely to be sources of dichlorophenol than tap water.

Professor Jeni Colbourne, the chief inspector of drinking water, said strict regulations in the UK meant dichlorophenol is unlikely to be found in household taps.

She said its likeliest source for British consumers were household products impregnated with triclosan, commonly used in lipsticks, face washes, toothpaste and kitchen utensils. An anti-bacterial, it can break down to form dichlorophenol.

In a study of 2,211 American adults with the chemical in their urine, 411 were found to have a food allergy, while 1,016 had an environmental allergy.

The research, published in journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, concluded: ‘Excessive use of dichlorophenols may contribute to the increasing incidence of food allergies in Westernised societies.

‘This chemical is commonly found in pesticides and consumer insect and weed control products, as well as tap water.’

Lead author Dr Elina Jerschow added: ‘Previous studies have shown that both food allergies and environmental pollution are increasing in the United States.

‘Our study suggest these two trends might be linked, and that increased use of pesticides and other chemicals is associated with a higher prevalence of food allergies.’

Professor Colbourne insisted: ‘Currently in the UK consumer, exposure to dichlorophenol via tap water is considered to be minimal.

‘In the US generally chlorination is known to be less well controlled and relatively high doses of chlorine are used, so it would be reasonable to consider the risk of exposure to be generally higher.

‘In the UK exposure is more likely to come from other, non-tap water sources.’


Resveratrol ‘can cut bowel cancer risk’

Mouse study only.  Previous studies have shown that it doesn't work on humans.  Resveratrol is a sort of religion among some

Resveratrol, found in the skins of red grapes and which gives the wine its colour, has long been known to have cancer-fighting properties, but scientists did not know how much was needed to be effective.

Tests on mice have now shown that a dose equivalent to five milligrams in humans halved the growth of bowel tumours.  Five milligrams were far more effective than a one gram dose.

Professor Karen Brown, who led the trials at Leicester University, said: ‘Everybody thinks that more is better, but we found that the low dose was more effective.

'We were amazed that it had any effect at all and even more surprised by the effectiveness of the low dose.’

Professor Brown will present her findings this week at Resveratrol 2012, a conference dedicated to research into the compound, at the university.

Previous studies have shown even tiny amounts of the compound can reach target tissues in humans.

Scientists have been exploring resveratrol’s potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even the ageing process. It is available as a supplement,

However, cancer trials involving resveratrol supplements have proved disappointing.  ‘People do take it as a supplement, but there’s no clinical evidence that this is of any benefit’ said Professor Brown.

There is some evidence that very high doses of resveratrol may interfere with certain medicines.

‘We’re still trying to understand the mechanism behind the way resveratrol works and see if it translates to human tissues and cells’ said Prof Brown.

Within two years, her team hopes to conduct a human trial on patients at high risk of bowel cancer.

Sarah Williams, of Cancer Research UK, warned: ‘People shouldn’t drink wine in an attempt to get any health benefits resveratrol can offer.

‘Alcohol has been estimated to cause around 12,500 cases of cancer a year in the UK. The best way to cut the risk of cancer through alcohol is to drink less.’


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