Environmental Factors Contribute to the Onset of Food Allergies


Background: Approximately 50 million Americans experience a food allergy. A food allergy is defined as an immune reaction after an ingested, inhaled, or dermal exposure to a certain food. Objectives: The objective of this paper is to define the role of the environment as it relates to food allergies. If environmental factors contribute to the onset of food allergies, then this epidemic could be labeled as an emerging public health issue. Methods: After reviewing articles from the peer-reviewed literature, information was compiled in graphical and tabular form. Literature search included manuscripts published between 1990 to 2017 using PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science. Search terms focused on “food allergy”, “food sensitivity”, “food intolerance”, and “environment*” studies. Findings from these studies were evaluated by determining relationships between environmental factors and food allergies. Discussion: Food allergies diagnosed often appear in children under the age of three. People diagnosed are shown to have the following similarities: manifest symptom(s) at age < 20 years old, reside in industrialized environments, inflicted with predisposing health sensitivities, and originating from developed countries. This review focused on discerning the details within the individual’s environment. Conclusions: We found that increased urbanization contribute to the environment-food allergy nexus. The most cited adverse human health outcomes include multiple allergies, psychological effects, and death. By identifying causes of food allergies, recommendations can be offered to improve the quality of life of those inflicted.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Benton2017EnvironmentalFC, title={Environmental Factors Contribute to the Onset of Food Allergies}, author={Erin Nicole Benton and Christie M. Sayes}, year={2017} }