Cleanliness keeps celiac kids safe from gluten
A new study reveals that materials like Play-Doh and dry pasta don’t have a significant transfer of gluten on hands or surfaces after children played with them. This report is a great news to parents of children with gluten sensitivity as they may worry about the child being exposed to gluten in school. The study reveals that while gluten was transferred to hands and surfaces with the use of other common school supplies and activities, such as paper mâché and baking projects with flour-based dough, once hands are washed and surfaces cleaned, gluten residue was not detected.
“These findings make an easy distinction – school supplies that are dry and not sticky show very low gluten transfer, while those that were wet and pasty cling heavily to hands and table surfaces,” says Vanessa Weisbrod, executive director of the Celiac Disease Program at Children’s National Hospital, who conceived and led the study. “In all cases, good hand hygiene and cleaning surfaces after using gluten-containing materials can prevent most gluten transfer.”
“These methods provide a realistic estimate of the risk to children with celiac disease using gluten-containing school supplies,” notes Jocelyn Silvester, M.D., Ph.D., director of Research for the Celiac Disease Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and a co-author on the study. “Now we can give evidence-based recommendations to families and schools, so that they can focus on what is most important to keep children with celiac disease safe.”
The study authors tested the effectiveness of three cleaning methods for removing gluten particles. They found that washing with water, soap and water or wiping with an antibacterial hand wipe all effectively removed gluten.
“Whether you’re protecting from bacteria or gluten, hand-washing and surface hygiene are key,” says Weisbrod. “As parents we want to do everything we can to keep our kids safe and healthy, and this study definitely shows that the number one thing we can do is teach our kids to wash their hands!”