Credit: Your Best Digs Flickr (CC BY 2.0)May 12, 2020 (MedicalXpress) -- Elevated blood levels of toxic chemicals found in pesticides, nonstick cookware, and fire retardants have been tied to an increased risk for celiac disease in young people, new research shows.
According to NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers who led the study, people with the immune disorder have severe gut reactions, including diarrhea and bloating, to foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The only treatment is a gluten-free diet, with no bread, pasta, or cake, says lead investigator and doctoral student Abigail Gaylord, MPH.
Reporting in the journal Environmental Research online May 12, the NYU Langone team found that children and young adults with high blood levels of pesticides -- and with high levels of pesticide-related chemicals called dichlorodiphenyldichlorethylenes (DDEs) -- were twice as likely to be newly diagnosed with celiac disease as those without high levels.
The study also found that gender differences existed for celiac disease related to toxic exposures. For females, who make up the majority of celiac cases, higher-than-normal pesticide exposure meant they were at least eight times more likely to become gluten intolerant. Young females with elevated levels of nonstick chemicals, known as perflouoroalkyls, or PFAs, including products like Teflon, were five to nine times more likely to have celiac disease.