An Overview of Environmental Risk Factors for Food Allergy

Rachel L. Peters, Suzanne Mavoa, Jennifer J. Koplin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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IgE-mediated food allergy is an increasing public health concern in many regions around the world. Although genetics play a role in the development of food allergy, the reported increase has occurred largely within a single generation and therefore it is unlikely that this can be accounted for by changes in the human genome. Environmental factors must play a key role. While there is strong evidence to support the early introduction of allergenic solids to prevent food allergy, this is unlikely to be sufficient to prevent all food allergy. The purpose of this review is to summarize the evidence on risk factors for food allergy with a focus the outdoor physical environment. We discuss emerging evidence of mechanisms that could explain a role for vitamin D, air pollution, environmental greenness, and pollen exposure in the development of food allergy. We also describe the recent extension of the dual allergen exposure hypothesis to potentially include the respiratory epithelial barrier in addition to the skin. Few existing studies have examined the relationship between these environmental factors with objective measures of IgE-mediated food allergy and further research in this area is needed. Future research also needs to consider the complex interplay between multiple environmental factors.

Keywords: food allergy, vitamin D, environmental greenness, air pollution, pollen, biodiversity
Original languageEnglish
Article number722
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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