Tags: allergy | allergic | toxins | genetically modified

Artificial Flavor, Fragrances Boost Allergy Risk

Image: Artificial Flavor, Fragrances Boost Allergy Risk


By    |   Friday, 23 September 2016 11:52 AM

Odor intolerance leaves many people immediately sensitive to certain smells when walking into a room. New research pinpoints the reason why: They are at war with airborne allergens that get their start in the lab, with genetically modified enzymes.

It's not just smells that people may be affected by — genetically modified enzymes are used to enhance foods as well.

There has been an explosion in the field of industrial processing fueling the demand for new "natural flavors" in foods — which has also spurred a greater number of scents in fragrances and cleaning products.

But genetically modified enzyme proteins may come with altered allergenic properties as well.

To test this theory, scientists and researchers in Germany measured specific antibodies to genetically modified enzymes in blood samples from 813 workers, employed in industries that use enzyme technology for their products, including food, medicines drinks, chemicals, and detergents.

Workers were tested for sensitivity to the modified enzymes to which they were routinely exposed during working hours. The results were published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Blood samples were taken from the employees, and about a quarter of the samples tested (23 percent) had specific antibodies to the newly created enzymes — meaning greater sensitivity or allergic reactions.

A smaller group — 134 employees — were tested for skin reactions and lung power problems they had developed. These participants were also quizzed on habits to rule out other mitigating factors such as smoking. From this group, about 36 percent said they had developed occupationally related symptoms of rhinitis or asthma.

Moreover, they were more than twice as likely to have high antibody levels than workers who had no symptoms.

Researchers reported that newly developed genetically modified enzymes should be thoroughly tested so consumers are better able to make informed choices: "Genetically engineered enzymes are potent allergens eliciting immediate-type sensitization. The assessment of allergenicity should be mandatory for all products," they pointed out.

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Genetically modified enzyme proteins may come with altered allergenic properties.
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Friday, 23 September 2016 11:52 AM
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