If somebody told you that the way you were washing your dishes could potentially harm your children, would you believe them? According to Bill Hesselman, an assistant professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, washing your dishes in a dishwasher can decrease exposure to trivial threats of bacteria and other germs, preventing your child from building up an immune tolerance to such bacteria.
Researchers in a recent study, led by Hesselman, followed approximately 1,000 children and their families in the Gothenburg area of Sweden. They were looking for information such as: how the families wash their dishes, what kind of foods they ate, and where they purchased their food. After gathering this data, they continued their study to see if the kids had any allergies.
The results of the study showed that overall, homes that only washed their dishes by hand experienced half the rate of allergies compared to homes that used dishwashers. When dishes are washed in the dishwasher, all of the bacteria and germs are washed away. This can become a problem when it comes to building up your immune system. If you’re not exposed to the bacteria left on a hand-washed dish, you can’t build up a tolerance to them. This can potentially turn into a food allergy. Additionally, allergy rates in homes that ate fermented and locally farmed food were even lower.
The problem with this study is that the results only show association. Without knowing the cause and effect, we can't be sure that washing dishes by hand will prevent kids from developing allergies. Though it cannot yet be confirmed, maybe we should consider how we wash our dishes in the future.
The New York Times