Phytosanitary products, processing aids, food additives and surfaces that touch food in storage can all transfer nanoparticles that might be consumed by humans. Studies proved that such a significant change to food production could have unpredicted health consequences. Studies show an evidence suggesting that nanoparticles cross the placenta to reach developing fetuses and leave them at greater risk of potentially life-threatening food allergies.
Due to the immunotoxic and biocidal properties of nanoparticles, exposure may disrupt the host-intestinal microbiota’s beneficial exchanges and may interfere with intestinal barrier and gut-associated immune system development in fetus and neonate. This may be linked to the epidemic of immune-related disorders in children, such as food allergies.
Food allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to proteins found in food. Children should usually develop oral tolerance, which allows them to eat without their bodies treating dietary proteins as a threat, but if the immune system or the intestinal barrier are compromised, they may instead become sensitized and develop an allergic reaction.
While nanoparticles crossing the placenta has been demonstrated in rodents, there is also evidence that the additives cross the placenta in humans also. Nanoparticles are not absorbed in the gut, but accumulate there, and affect the bacteria present in the gut microbime by changing the number of species present and their proportions. Nanoparticles also affect the epithelium intestinal barrier, which is another essential part of a healthy reaction to dietary proteins.