food allergies, climate change 

It feels like I have the same conversation with people of my parents' generation over and over again.

Them: Why are there so many more food allergies these days?

Me: Actually, I know this one! There are more allergens in the environment than when you were a kid. It's partly linked to climate change, because a lot of the fungi thrive on higher CO2 levels...

Them: It's because kids are too indulged about food these days/houses are too clean these days/kids don't play outside enough so their immune systems are weaker/etc

Bonus point if they end the conversation by saying "You've got to have SOME dirt!" or "You've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die!" as if that had anything to do with it.

Boomers are absolutely wedded to this pet theory, and if you bring up the facts they will absolutely ignore you and carry on.

food allergies, climate change 

@griffinkate I actually haven't heard this before. I guess I just fell for the "not enough exposure to dirt" hypothesis. Do you have some research or papers you can point me at? (You're also welcome to just tell me to Google it myself, but I thought I'd ask)

food allergies, climate change 

@gendor Happy to help! There's a good article about peanut allergies that I can't track down now, but here's something that at least proves I'm not talking utter bollocks:

Don't get me wrong, climate change/environmental factors aren't the whole story. There will be many more people diagnosed with allergies partly because we're more aware of allergies now. But unlike baby boomers, I think it's a GOOD thing to get diagnosed and then avoid what you're allergic to, rather than just suffering unexplained illness!

food allergies, climate change 

@gendor Here's another article:

Still can't find the peanut one I'm thinking of!

There is debate about the link between excess hygiene and immune system issues. It's called the "hygiene hypothesis".

There's a lot we don't know. I just think it's revealing how boomers immediately jump to a narrative that's about how they had it tough and the current generation is weak, and won't listen to any other explanation.

food allergies, climate change 

@griffinkate Thanks so much! This is really interesting. I've personally never made the connection between climate change and allergies, but it makes sense. As you say, the reality is usually more complex and it's never as simple as a single cause.

food allergies, climate change 

@griffinkate Not sure if this is the same peanut paper you read, but I just found one that shows experimentally that increased CO2 can lead to increased allergen concentration in peanuts:

food allergies, climate change 

@gendor Wow, that's not the one I read but it's a good reference! Thanks! (The thing I read was a newspaper/magazine article and very easy to read.)

food allergies, climate change 

@griffinkate I didn't know this one. Thanks

food allergies, climate change 


Some good studies found out, that if you get dust/dirt in your nose, which comes from cow-shed (it must be cow!!!), then you tend a lot to have less/no allergy. this seems to be a epi-genetic effect, which you can give to your children still to the second generation...

so... boomers are not that stupid, if they say, you need more dust and less desinfection-spray...

they are stupid on negating the climate-change.

food allergies, climate change 

@jakob (I didn't know that about the cowshed dust! Thanks for sharing!) Yes, I know that there is research on exposure to dirt/microbes and how it helps your immune system, and I think there's a lot we still don't know. I just find it very revealing that boomers can't cope with anyone challenging their narrative about modern allergies being because the current generation has things too easy.

They especially hate the link to CO2 because it implies some of it might be their fault. They prefer the role of person who "had it tough".

food allergies, climate change 

@griffinkate The climate change affects the amount of pollen in the air. The increased amount of pollen and air pollutions by cars and factories are a serious problem to allergic people. More and more people suffer from asthma.

food allergies, climate change 

@maxi I knew this already, but thanks for backing up what I'm saying.

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