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Hard Water Associated With Risk of Eczema in Infants

Skin condition seems more likely in areas with high mineral content in water

THURSDAY, June 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Hard, mineral-laden water may increase the risk of an infant developing eczema, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The study included 1,300 3-month old infants from across the United Kingdom. Researchers checked mineral content and chlorine levels in the water supply where the babies lived. Infants who lived in areas with hard water were up to 87 percent more likely to have eczema, the researchers found.

“Our study builds on growing evidence of a link between exposure to hard water and the risk of developing eczema in childhood,” lead author Carsten Flohr, Ph.D., from the Institute of Dermatology at King’s College London, said in a college news release. The study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, so further research is needed to learn more about this apparent link, Flohr added.

“We are about to launch a feasibility trial to assess whether installing a water softener in the homes of high-risk children around the time of birth may reduce the risk of eczema and whether reducing chlorine levels brings any additional benefits,” Flohr said.

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