Recently published research by Dr. Elina Jerschow and associates found a correlation between food allergies and dichlorophenols, a commonly used pesticide and chemical used to chlorinate tap water.
In the study, which utilized data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, those with high levels of urinary dichlorophenols were also seen to have either a food allergy or environmental allergy. Dr. Jerschow didn’t attack just tap water however, stating that dichlorophenol-treated vegetables and fruits may contribute more to the development of food allergies.
While the study suggests that tap water may be the culprit, our own Dr. Amy Pruden still has questions. She agrees that the study definitely shows correlation, but asks: “…what [would] the mechanism be…how exactly would a pesticide stimulate an allergy response to a food that is chemically different in nature?”
However, what are the implications of such research being reported in the media?
For example, how would someone browsing the internet interpret headlines like these: “Pesticides in water linked to food allergy risk,” “Tap Water Pesticide Associated with Food Allergies,” “Pesticides in Tap Water Cause Food Allergy,” and “Tap Water May Make You Prone to Food Allergies“?
Would you be more inclined to avoid the tap after reading articles like this?
In our busy world, do you think that you would even take the time to read such articles or just take the article titles at face-value and avoid the tap altogether?
As professionals in the “Waterworld” (no pun intended), we need to keep in mind that our research may be misrepresented and interpreted; thus, its vital that we meticulously perform our duties ethically while cautiously sharing our findings so not to confuse others.