According to a recent study, increased household consumption of peanuts may play a role in the development of childhood peanut allergies.
The study found that a higher level of peanut proteins in a baby's home environment may activate the child's immune system. The researchers hypothesize that this effect could begin in vitro.
The researchers evaluated household peanut consumption over a six-month period through a food questionnaire. This was correlated with peanut protein measurements in dust within the home, including in the infant's play area.
Peanut Dust Triggers Immune Response
As the authors reported in the
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,
dust samples with a high concentration of peanut protein triggered children's immune system response.
“This is the first study to demonstrate that peanut protein levels in an infant's home environment are positively correlated with [household peanut consumption] and that peanut protein in household dust is biologically active,” wrote the researchers.
They speculate that high levels of peanut allergens in household dust could lead to allergic sensitization. They suggest that further studies focus on whether environmental peanut exposure is a risk factor for the development of peanut allergies.