Target: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HSS)
Goal: Continue research into the effects of pesticide use on American health.
New research shows that a chemical found in tap water may be contributing to America’s rising number of food allergies. As part of an ongoing study, researchers looked at more than 10,000 Americans and kept track of their health and nutrition. They found that patients with the highest levels of dichlorophenols, a chemical used to treat tap water (among other things), had a higher chance of developing a food or environmental allergy.
“The results of our study suggest that these two trends might be linked, and that increased use of pesticides and other chemicals is associated with a higher prevalence of food allergies,” explained Dr. Elina Jerschow, the study’s author. Food allergy sufferers can experience a variety of symptoms, from the slight (tingling in the mouth) to the severe (anaphylaxis—swelling of the tongue and throat—that may result in death). And switching from tap to bottled water may not be an answer because many pesticide-treated produce also contain traces of the harmful chemicals.
Jerschow points out that according to the research, “High levels of dicholorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy.” And because the immune system begins to develop in-utero, it is particularly important for expectant mothers to steer clear of these dangers. With more Americans suffering from food allergies than ever before, the need for continued research into pesticides and the environment is important now more than ever. More studies will allow conclusions to be made and solutions to be drawn.
To encourage the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to look into the effects of pesticide use on American health, please sign the petition below.
Dear Ms. Sebelius,
New research has indicated a link between a chemical water treatment for tap water and heightened food allergies among the American public. With the number of food allergies higher than ever before (and on the rise), it is important to look at possible causes behind this trend. With dicholorophenols, a chemical used to treat tap water and found in pesticides, directly linked to food allergies, the U.S. Department of Health must consider the effects of pesticide use on the health of Americans.
As chemical use rises, it can be expected that allergy cases will also continue to rise. While it remains to be certain, what is clear is the link between pesticide/chemical use and negative health implications. As the governing body charged with looking after the health of the American people, I encourage you to continue research into the effects of pesticide use on the public’s health.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NYC Environmental Protection