Anti-bacterial products linked to Allergy risk in ChildrenMay 19, 2014 May 19, 2014
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we recognize the symptoms of a weakened immune system, and then we look beyond the symptoms in order to address the underlying triggers, which very often are related to allergies or sensitivities to common irritants like the household chemicals. In patients who are allergic or sensitive to foods, environmental chemicals or pollen, for example, the presence of these agents suppresses the immune system and contributes to infection.
We conduct allergy testing to identify triggers and, once identified, we utilize sublingual desensitization to naturally treat the immune system by training it to respond appropriately to the allergens that affect each individual patient. We work with our patients to modify their diets and lifestyles to avoid other triggers – including those that are food-based or result from chemicals (including those found in paint and carpeting).
Researchers at John Hopkins University say that “Exposure to common antibacterial chemicals and preservatives found in soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other personal-care products may make children more prone to a wide range of food and environmental allergies”
The researchers caution that the findings do not demonstrate that antibacterials and preservatives themselves cause the allergies, but instead suggest that these agents play a role in immune system development.
The investigators say their findings are also consistent with the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which has recently gained traction as one possible explanation behind the growing rates of food and environmental allergies in the developed world. The hypothesis suggests that early childhood exposure to common pathogens is essential in building healthy immune responses. Lack of such exposure, according to the theory, can lead to an overactive immune system that misfires against harmless substances such as food proteins, pollen or pet dander.
In the research, those with the highest urine levels of triclosan — an antibacterial agent used in soaps, mouthwash and toothpaste — had the highest levels of food IgE antibodies, and therefore the highest allergy risk, compared with children with the lowest triclosan levels. Children with the highest urinary levels of parabens — preservatives with antimicrobial properties used in cosmetics, food and medications — were more likely to have detectable levels of IgE antibodies to environmental allergens like pollen and pet dander, compared with those with low paraben levels.
Seven ingredients were studied: bisphenol A — found in plastics — and triclosan, benzophenone-3 and propyl, methyl, butyl and ethyl parabens, found in personal-hygiene products and some foods and medications. Interestingly, triclosan and propyl and butyl parabens, all of which have antimicrobial properties, were the only ones associated with increased allergy risk.
Children with the highest urine levels of triclosan had nearly twice the risk of environmental allergies as children with the lowest urinary concentrations. Those with highest levels of propyl paraben in the urine had twice the risk of an environmental allergy. Food allergy risk was more than twice as pronounced in children with the highest levels of urinary triclosan as in children with the lowest triclosan levels. High paraben levels in the urine were not linked to food allergy risk.
To clarify the link between antimicrobial agents and allergy development, the researchers are planning a long-term study in babies exposed to antibacterial ingredients at birth, following them throughout childhood.