by Lisa Rapaport for Everyday Health
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in products like pesticides, nonstick cookware, and fire retardants used on clothes and upholstery can interfere with the immune system. Now a small study suggests that exposure to these pollutants may also increase the risk of celiac disease in young people.
In a new study, Dr. Leo Trasande and colleagues at NYU found that children and young adults with high blood levels of dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) — a chemical used in pesticides — may be twice as likely to develop celiac disease as their peers who haven’t had much exposure to this pollutant, according to a study published in May 2020 in Environmental Research.
For the study, researchers tested for toxic chemicals in blood samples from 30 children and young adults ranging in age from 3 to 21 years old who had recently been diagnosed with celiac disease. They also ran blood tests for 60 young people who didn’t have celiac disease but were similar in age, gender, and race to the participants with this diagnosis.
The current study is the first to make a connection between exposure to chemicals in the environment and celiac disease, says Luz Claudio, PhD, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
“There was previous evidence to suggest that these chemicals can disrupt the immune system, either directly or by way of affecting hormones that help modulate it, and could produce autoimmune reactions such as those seen in diseases like celiac,” says Dr. Claudio, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Thus, it was conceivable that exposure to these types of chemicals could play a role in risk of celiac disease.”
To read the full news articles with links to the original research, click below.
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