We measured small intestinal permeability to lactutose and rhamnose in 18 healthy children and in 15 children with atopic eczema, before and after a 14-day elimination diet. The children with atopic eczema had higher initial urinary lactulose/rhamnose ratios than the controls. After dietary restriction, there was no overall change in permeability. Dietary therapy did however result in a large reduction in permeability in three of the nine children whose skin disease was improved, but a statistically significant decrease in permeability was not observed in the diet-responsive group as a whole. Larger studies would be required to confirm that dietary restrictions can reduce intestinal permeability in some children with atopic eczema.