FRIDAY, Jan. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Specific common school activities, such as paper mâché and baking projects, pose a high risk for gluten exposure, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

Vanessa M. Weisbrod, from the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., and colleagues measured potential gluten cross-contact in classrooms with use of Play-Doh; a baking project; paper mâché and dry pasta in a sensory table; and cooked pasta in a sensory table. Gluten levels were measured on separate slices of gluten-free bread rubbed on 30 participants’ hands and table surfaces following activities. Participants were assigned to hand washing with soap and water, water alone, or wet wipes, and repeat gluten transfer measurements were taken.

The researchers found that the rate of gluten transfer exceeded the 20 ppm threshold set by Codex Alimentarius Commission with paper mâché, cooked pasta in a sensory table, and the baking project. Few gluten transfers exceeding 20 ppm were seen with Play-Doh and dry pasta. The most consistently effective method for removing gluten was soap and water; other methods were effective in certain scenarios.

“These study findings should reassure us all that routine, careful handwashing and surface-cleaning methods will keep children with celiac disease safe and healthy, while allowing them to participate in more activities that may involve gluten-containing materials,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This study is a win for the students and their schools.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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