This means the lead author’s statement that the results represent “a major advance in our understanding of how food allergy starts early in life” is simply exaggeration (unless she’s talking about “early in life” for rodents, and even then the study can not prove causation).
A new study by researchers at Northwestern University looked at why eczema might make it more likely for children to develop food allergy after using baby wipes.
Researchers used baby mice with dermatitis and exposed them to potential allergens including peanuts. It found that exposure to dust and allergens on the skin could eventually trigger allergic reactions, and that anything that breaks down the skin’s natural barriers – like the soap in baby wipes – might have an influence. That, in conjunction with a genetic mutation in some babies, led to the food allergy. That, along with skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care, can trigger the allergy.
“Say a sibling with peanut butter on her face kisses the baby”.
Kudos to NBC’s Today Show who, despite their provocative headline, made it clear that the role of soapy baby wipes in newborns developing food allergies is “pure speculation”.
In other words, skin exposure, on top of genetics, could be a key trigger.
However now it seems our propensity to wipe everything away might actually be disrupting the skins natural protective barrier, according to a United States study.
Considering not all baby wipe brands contain SLS, and this is only a limited study on mice, it’s too early for a worldwide ban on cleaning up your toddler with these handy things.
Problem is the research was done in mice, not humans.
Food allergies are on the rise and affect an estimated 4 to 6 percent of children in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The real bottom line is, if you use baby wipes, you can wipe food off of your baby, but don’t use it so aggressively that you abrade the skin and cause damage, because once the skin is abraded, and the damage has occurred, then the baby may absorb food into their skin”, Portnoy added.