Today’s question deals with seasonal allergies, a topic that affects millions of unfortunate souls each year… including yours truly. As the weather warms up and the pollen comes out, so do the Kleenex.
‘Rocker86’ recently asked, “Would it be possible for pollutants and other junk in water to make allergies worse? I go to my dads everyother weekend across town and in the spring my allergies act up real bad over there but not at my moms. My moms has filters on the faucet and in the fridge but my dads does not.”
Thank you for the inquiry, Rocker. Until about a year ago I had never heard of a term called ‘allergy stacking’ which means that a person can have slight to mild allergies to things in their environment and never really suffer the effects of a pronounced allergic reaction until they become exposed to a number of those things at the same time.
As an example, let’s say Rocker has a slight allergic reaction to cat fur and also to the pollen of a Maple tree. When exposed to either he shows little or no symptoms. However, when exposed to them both at the same time he begins to sneeze his head off and break out in hives.
What does ‘allergy stacking’ have to do with water quality?
We figure that since the human body naturally mounts a defense against and reacts to unwanted contaminants in the air, it would also do the something similar for contaminants in the water we consume. Therefore, it stands to reason that drinking water contaminants to which the human body reacts and quickly wishes to get rid of may contribute to the body’s overall allergen load.
Have we found proof of this? No, not really, but we did find an interesting article that found a correlation between a person’s exposure to various pesticides and the likelihood of that person having food allergies. Dr. Elina Jerschow, an assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City stated in a press release that “Our research shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy.”
Although Dr. Jerschow’s research did not find a cause and effect relationship between the pesticide ingredient and food allergies, it does certainly lend a great deal of credibility to the notion that all the pesticides, VOC’s (volatile organic contaminants), and other contaminants many of us ingest on a regular basis in our water have an adverse effect on our health.
Removing & reducing water contaminants
Depending upon your unique water quality situation, and you will only know the details of your water quality situation if you TEST YOUR WATER (you’ll find a number of useful water test kits in our Water Test Kit Store), several options exist for removing unwanted contaminants in your water:
- Shower Filters – We carry the Austin Springs brand of shower filters that have tested to reduce chlorine concentrations by more than 90%. Studies have shown that exposure to chlorine — which easily off gases from warm/hot shower water — can trigger mild to occasionally severe allergic reactions and may potentially cause long term respiratory problems.
- Countertop Filters – At this time we have Austin Springs‘ NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 Certified counter top water filters. In total, these units are NSF Certified to reduce more than 60 water contaminants including chlorine, chloramines, mercury, cysts, various gasoline additives, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), lead, etc.
- Undercounter Filters – Using the same filter elements as the contertop models, the Austin Springs undercounter water filters also bear NSF Certification for the reduction of more than 60 water contaminants including chlorine, chloramines, mercury, cysts, various gasoline additives, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), lead, etc.