A new study suggests that food allergies may be linked to pesticides used to chlorinate tap water. Researchers at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology used existing government data to see whether people with more dichlorophenols in their urine were more likely to have food allergies. Dichlorophenol, a kind of chlorine in certain pesticides that are known to kill bacteria, and in theory, they could be killing the naturally occurring bacteria in humans’ digestive systems, causing food allergies. Lead researcher Dr. Elina Jerschow explained that the goal of the study was to “see if there was an association between certain pesticides and food allergies”. Researchers were specifically interested in dichlorophenols because of their antibacterial effect. When they compared bacteria from the bowel in healthy kids versus bacteria in the bowel for kids that have lot of allergies, there was a significant difference. While drinking water may contain dichlorophenols, switching to bottled water may not save you from the risk. Dichlorophenol is also found in pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables and may play a greater role in causing food allergy.
Nanoparticles were introduced in our nation’s food supply at least a decade ago, yet very few people know about them. Nanoparticles are materials that are microscopic—significantly smaller than a red blood cell; and tens of thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. These particles deliver nutrients, ensure longer freshness of food, act as thickening agents or enhance taste or flavor. While some nanoparticles have been found to exist in nature, the nanoparticles that have been engineered in laboratories and are currently in your food, have environmental health advocates concerned. Scientists are still determining the health and environmental impact of these tiny particles, even as industry is forging ahead. There is currently very little oversight and regulation on the use of nanoparticles in food and food packaging. Nanoparticles, such as Titanium Dioxide, which is found in everything from cosmetics and sunscreen to paint and vitamins, has been shown to cause systemic genetic damage in mice and induce lung cancer in exposed animals, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
I was shocked, yet not surprised, when I read the New York Times article about HSBC bank. HSBC announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to pay a record $1.92 billion settlement in a money-laundering case. HSBC is accused of transferring billions of dollars for nations like Iran and enabled Mexican drug cartels to move money illegally through its American subsidiaries. Indictment has been avoided due to concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and destabilize the global financial system. While the settlement with HSBC is a major victory for the government, the case raises questions about whether certain financial institutions are too big to indict. Four years after the failure of Lehman Brothers nearly toppled the financial system, regulators fear that a single institution could undermine the recovery of the economy. To think that they are allowed to commit crimes without the fear of prosecution (because of our government’s fear of the ramifications that prosecuting would have on our economy), just sets the stage for more banks to do the same. I am disgusted!