Are agrichemicals and food preservatives the culprit behind increased allergies in children today?

As a growing number of children have been developing allergies to everyday foods, experts have been exploring potential causes. One hypothesis is that the surge is tied to the increased use of agrichemicals and food preservatives. We turned to our panel offood allergy experts and asked them to share their opinions on that hypothesis. Here’s what they had to say:

PresentTenseCoaching, a holistic nutritionist with over thirty years of experience, believes that agrichemicals and preservatives are an important issue when determining the allergic reaction of a child. However, this is a problem that “can be easily remedied.” A separate issue involves genetically modified food (GMO). Part of the trouble with genetically modified food is that when a pregnant woman eats such foods, it can “easily overwhelm the immune system of the fetus.” Post partum, the child has greater chances of receiving a negative response when encountering these foods.

Murugesan Venkataram, with over 20 years of experience in research and development for plant science and plant pathology, says that the chemicals added to food to lengthen shelf life can have adverse effects on certain people. The very same “food additives used to slow the growth of fungus and bacteria, keep fats and oils from turning rancid, and prevent powdered foods from caking” can cause people to react negatively. Venkataram explains that because these negative reactions are actually chemical reactions, and therefore do not involve the immune system, they are not considered “true allergies”. Known as food intolerances, such effects can cause headaches, rashes, hives and vomiting, as well as an aggravation of eczema. Additionally, the sulfites commonly added to fruit juice, wine, dried fruit, and salads “can cause wheezing and chest tightness.” Asthmatics need to be especially careful with such foods, but Venkataram also feels that it is important for every individual to be aware of potential consequences.

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