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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 20 2020, @08:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the who-would-have-guessed dept.

Exposure to cleaning products in first 3 months of life can increase risk of childhood asthma:

New research from the CHILD Cohort Study[*] shows that frequent exposure to common household cleaning products can increase a child's risk of developing asthma.

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease and is the primary reason why children miss school or end up in hospital.

The study was published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It found that young infants (birth to three months) living in homes where household cleaning products were used frequently were more likely to develop childhood wheeze and asthma by three years of age.

"Most of the available evidence linking asthma to the use of cleaning products comes from research in adults," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Tim Takaro, a professor and clinician- scientist in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU). "Our study looked at infants, who typically spend 80-90% of their time indoors and are especially vulnerable to chemical exposures through the lungs and skin due to their higher respiration rates and regular contact with household surfaces."

[...] "Interestingly, we did not find an association between the use of cleaning products and a risk of atopy alone," noted Dr. Takaro. "Therefore, a proposed mechanism underlying these findings is that chemicals in cleaning products damage the cells that line the respiratory tract through innate inflammatory pathways rather than acquired allergic pathways."

"We also found that at age three, the relationship between product exposure and respiratory problems was much stronger in girls than boys," he added. "This is an interesting finding that requires more research to better understand male versus female biological responses to inflammatory exposures in early life."

The study used data from 2,022 children participating in the CHILD Cohort Study and examined their daily, weekly and monthly exposure to 26 types of household cleaners, including dishwashing and laundry detergents, cleaners, disinfectants, polishes, and air fresheners.

"The risks of recurrent wheeze and asthma were notably higher in homes with frequent use of certain products, such as liquid or solid air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, dusting sprays, antimicrobial hand sanitizers and oven cleaners," commented the paper's lead author, Jaclyn Parks, a graduate student in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU. "It may be important for people to consider removing scented spray cleaning products from their cleaning routine. We believe that the smell of a healthy home is no smell at all."

[*] CHILD Cohort Study web site.

Journal References:

  • Elissa M. Abrams. "Cleaning products and asthma risk: a potentially important public health concern", CMAJ (DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.200025)
  • Jaclyn Parks, Lawrence McCandless, Christoffer Dharma, Jeffrey Brook, Stuart E. Turvey, Piush Mandhane, Allan B. Becker, Anita L. Kozyrskyj, Meghan B. Azad, Theo J. Moraes, Diana L. Lefebvre, Malcolm R. Sears, Padmaja Subbarao, James Scott and Tim K. Takaro. "Association of use of cleaning products with respiratory health in a Canadian birth cohort", CMAJ (DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.190819)

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Booga1 on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:14AM (10 children)

    by Booga1 (6333) on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:14AM (#960234)

    Seems to me that this would have some knock on effects with the "too clean" hypothesis about causes for asthma. There have been multiple studies now showing that not having exposure to allergens early in life may actually stunt our immune systems by not giving it any targets to go for.

    Here are a couple related to that: Growing up on Amish farms protects children against asthma [uchicago.edu]

    The communities, however, are distinct in two important ways. Although both groups depend on agriculture, their farming practices differ. The Amish have retained traditional methods. They live on single-family dairy farms and rely on horses for fieldwork and transportation. In contrast, the Hutterites live on large communal farms. They use modern, industrialized farm machinery. This distances young Hutterite children from the constant daily exposure to farm animals.
    ...
    “The Amish had more and younger neutrophils, blood cells crucial to fight infections and fewer eosinophils—blood cells that promote allergic inflammation,” said study co-author, immunologist Anne Sperling, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Gene expression profiles in blood cells also revealed enhanced activation of key innate immunity genes in Amish children.

    This one is a more generic, but larger study: Can exposing newborns to more dirt and germs lower allergy, asthma risk? [medicalnewstoday.com]

    More allergen exposure resulted in greater protective effects

    Results showed that, compared with children not exposed, infants who lived in homes with mouse and cat dander and cockroach droppings during their first year had lower wheezing rates at age 3.
    But interestingly, the more allergens the infants were exposed to, the greater the protective effect; infants exposed to all three allergens had a lower risk than those who were exposed to none, one or two of them.

    In detail, children who grew up without being exposed to the allergens were three times as likely to experience wheezing, compared with those who grew up with all three allergens.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:21AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:21AM (#960236)

      These things are rather complicated. Asthma itself is the result of inflammation and it's going to have multiple potential causes. There are also multiple kinds of asthma and what triggers one person may not trigger somebody else. I used to regularly go to the emergency room every fall when the furnace kicked on putting tons of cat dander into the air all at once, but was perfectly fine being around lots of particular matter from trucks with no wheezing at all. Whereas many other people would have serious problems with airflow if exposed to fumes and be fine with the cat dander.

      • (Score: 2) by Booga1 on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:34AM (2 children)

        by Booga1 (6333) on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:34AM (#960237)

        True, and there's no guarantee of anything being 100% effective. Even the Amish study says:

        The other striking difference is what Ober calls a “whopping disparity in asthma.” About 5 percent of Amish schoolchildren aged 6 to 14 have asthma. This is about half of the U.S. average (10.3 percent) for children aged 5 to 14, and one-fourth of the prevalence (21.3 percent) among Hutterite children.

        So what the heck is going on with the Hutterite's having double the "normal" U.S. kids asthma? Just bad luck with genes? Something else in the environment?

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:12AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:12AM (#960251)

          So what the heck is going on with the Hutterite's having double the "normal" U.S. kids asthma?

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682224/ [nih.gov]

          Allergen levels were not different among these homes, but median levels of endotoxin were 6.7-fold higher in the Amish homes (Fig. 1b). Moreover, 16S rRNA sequencing in a pooled sample of mattress dust from each population revealed a greater relative abundance of the bacterial phylum Proteobacteria in the Amish dust and greater relative abundance of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in Hutterite dust. Collectively, these data showed that microbial burden and composition differ between the Amish and Hutterite home environments.

          Basically, the Hutterites don't leave as traditional farm style as the Amish and their homes are too clean.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by krishnoid on Thursday February 20 2020, @06:56PM

          by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 20 2020, @06:56PM (#960405)

          I wonder if it's continuous exposure to trace quantities of fertilizer/pesticides and other industrial farming chemicals, which you don't normally find in the more pollution-measured-and-controlled cities in some developed nations.

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:20PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:20PM (#960280)

      The main cause of asthma is breathing irritating fumes or particulate matter, not cleanliness.

      • (Score: 2) by Booga1 on Thursday February 20 2020, @04:22PM

        by Booga1 (6333) on Thursday February 20 2020, @04:22PM (#960330)

        Not off topic, but not quite right either. This article is talking about "a child's risk of developing asthma" not about fumes triggering an asthma attack.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ledow on Friday February 21 2020, @09:33AM

        by ledow (5567) on Friday February 21 2020, @09:33AM (#960643) Homepage

        It's not the cleanliness that affects you.

        It's the germ-killing chemical that you're spraying in the air around a small child, soaking every surface in, and wiping their hands/face with when they dribble a bit. It's quite literally household chemical pollution, with a chemical specifically designed to kill living organisms. You're only not affected because of the dosage needed to kill you as someone of adult weight. Children are much more affected.

        Seriously... stop spraying that stuff everywhere, every two seconds, for some perceived germ-risk. They are far more at risk from you spraying literal synthetic biocides in their local area every day than they are from a big of sticky food that they decide to lick off the counter.

        I can tell you now - cleanliness literally kills kids at the extreme. I've been in people's houses where the smell of bleach pervaded every surface, even the kid's soft toys, and every single dot of food was immediately wiped up with biocidal-chemical-soaked wet-wipes (even from their hands/face). To the extent that I know at least one person who - after they had cleaned the house - you couldn't enter for nearly 30 minutes because the bleach *burned* the inside of your nose. And they thought they were doing themselves a favour. Fortunately, they didn't have kids.

        There's being clean, and then there's being clean. A wipe with a damn cloth will clean the stain off the counter but will actually put more germs down than were there originally. And that's *fine*. Living in a germ-free environment is unhealthy to your immune system. Living in an environment swimming with biocides is positively damaging to your lungs and other parts of your body.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by hemocyanin on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:05PM (2 children)

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:05PM (#960483) Journal

      I grew up a dirt-eating hippie child. One of the earliest photos my parents took of me I was sitting in the gravel of a riverbed, chewing on a stick I found, dirt drool oozing from my mouth. I was over two before we stopped living in campers and moved into a cabin (no inside plumbing, wood cookstove).

      Anyway, I don't get sick very often and am not allergic to anything common in the environment. The only reaction I have is related to excessive exposure while rehabbing an old boat 10 yrs ago: uncured polyester resin makes my skin turn red and break out in water blisters. Later I also discovered that fumes from HIPS (high impact polystyrene) printer filament cause a similar reaction. But these are my fault and developed from careless frequent exposure to polyester resin. Fortunately for me, it is rare to encounter these chemicals in regular life.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:59PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:59PM (#960502)

        Watch out, exposure to uncured epoxy can give you a really nasty reaction too.
        You get sensitized in the same way. Even JB Weld drug store epoxy can sensitize you.

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Friday February 21 2020, @01:22AM

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2020, @01:22AM (#960538) Journal

          Fortunately, epoxy doesn't affect me presently, but I'm ridiculously scrupulous with using gloves and avoiding contact with fumes just so I can avoid becoming sensitized too it. It's sort of a shame about polyester resin -- it's much more economical than epoxy, but it is what it is.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:56AM (#960239)

    Like exposure to AIDS, its now "manageable". *invests in big pharma and petitions the government to fund them*

  • (Score: 2) by Snospar on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:59AM (13 children)

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:59AM (#960240)

    If your child is coming into any contact with Oven Cleaners then you are doing something very wrong. Those things are stuffed with some really noxious chemicals for breaking down the gunk burned all over your oven. Even the adult using the product is advised to wear gloves and a mask. I realise we talking about particulates left behind after the cleaning but you still have to wonder why a child, potentially 3 months old, is anywhere near an oven that's just been cleaned.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:25AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:25AM (#960242)

      What is obvious to you may be news to millions of below average people.

      Mask? What mask? Gloves? I'll just wash my hands.

      The rest is only natural.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:17PM (#960278)

        What type of mask do you think will filter out the fumes? Not one of those paper jobs.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by sjames on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:32AM (7 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:32AM (#960243) Journal

      I remember the smell of oven cleaner being very strong and permeating the whole house. If you can smell it, you're being exposed to it. So "anywhere near" means in the house.

      Personally, I find the scents used in many modern products to be absolutely disgusting. They claim the stuff smells like a fresh spring day, or some flower or another. IT DOES NOT!

      I prefer plain old household ammonia. It doesn't smell great, but it smells better than many "fragrances" and disperses quickly leaving no residue.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday February 20 2020, @04:13PM (6 children)

        by RS3 (6367) on Thursday February 20 2020, @04:13PM (#960324)

        I remember the smell of oven cleaner being very strong and permeating the whole house. If you can smell it, you're being exposed to it. So "anywhere near" means in the house.

        Self-cleaning ovens are probably much less harmful. But that said, maybe worse? Either way the fumes are best vented outside. And it's best to run the self-cleaning cycle when nobody's home, preferably with some outside ventilation.

        I prefer plain old household ammonia. It doesn't smell great, but it smells better than many "fragrances" and disperses quickly leaving no residue.

        Interesting perspective. I have no allergies that I know of, but ammonia will close up my throat (trachea?). Ammonia "smelling salts" used to be used to try to wake a fainted person. I probably need a medical alert tag saying don't use ammonia.

        My mom was into cleaning, but she was also a bio-chemist and always strongly warned me against chemicals. I don't know how much I was exposed to cleaning products at young age, but I don't remember much of them. Mom probably only used mild stuff.

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday February 20 2020, @06:24PM (5 children)

          by sjames (2882) on Thursday February 20 2020, @06:24PM (#960382) Journal

          Self-cleaning ovens are probably much less harmful...

          I suspect but can't prove that they are a great deal less harmful, and no risk of chemical burns. I run the extraction fan over the range when I use the cleaning cycle. That seems to be fairly effective but you can still smell a bit of a burning smell in the house.

          You probably should consider an alert bracelet, while less common, smelling salts have not gone entirely out of use. Also ammonia cooling towels are still in use. That's an unusual reaction, so someone trying to be helpful may not be aware of the possibility.

          • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:44PM (4 children)

            by RS3 (6367) on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:44PM (#960457)

            Thank you for the good advice. Maybe my mom used ammonia when I was a small child and I developed a reaction to it. I kind of remember her using ammonia but infrequently. It's never been a problem, but I'm quite aware of the reaction, and whenever I smell ammonia (and throat starts closing) I get away from it.

            Regarding the oven, AFAIK most oven cleaners are NaOH-based, and who knows what is produced by the chemical reactions. Bad stuff for sure. NaOH fumes alone would wreck pulmonary parts.

            I remember reading about how burnt foods, esp. meats, can be carcinogenic. So my concern is that the fumes from the self-cleaning cycle could be carcinogenic.

            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:58PM (3 children)

              by sjames (2882) on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:58PM (#960501) Journal

              I *THINK* the primary concern from burnt food is colon cancer from ingestion. Of course, you get the same thing with less complete burning if you DON'T clean the oven... But good ventilation certainly won't hurt anything.

              Yeah, the oven cleaners are NaOH. For fun, spray some on a crumpled ball of aluminum foil (outside! on concrete). Stand back just in case.

              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by barbara hudson on Friday February 21 2020, @12:23AM (2 children)

                by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Friday February 21 2020, @12:23AM (#960511) Journal
                Oven cleaner is just iron de-scaler. You can get it in bulk for a lot cheaper per litre than ez-off.
                --
                SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday February 21 2020, @07:36AM (1 child)

                  by sjames (2882) on Friday February 21 2020, @07:36AM (#960624) Journal

                  Iron descaler is a weak acid to dissolve mineral deposits. You can use dilute white vinegar. That also works in drip coffee makers. Typical commercial oven cleaner is a strong base. Do NOT use it on a self cleaning oven. The reaction can be spectacular.

                  • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Friday February 21 2020, @02:24PM

                    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Friday February 21 2020, @02:24PM (#960677) Journal
                    Wrong. You're thinking of CLR and other home use crap. I'm talking iron descaler used I blast furnaces and casting operations. Not the same thing at all.
                    --
                    SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Booga1 on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:39AM (2 children)

      by Booga1 (6333) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:39AM (#960244)

      That's nothing. Check out this baby product! The Baby Mop [betterthanpants.com]

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Snospar on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:55AM (1 child)

        by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:55AM (#960247)

        That is truly horrific 😃

        Picture the poor baby eating all the fluff and cruft he's collected!

        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:46PM

          by RS3 (6367) on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:46PM (#960459)

          That baby mop should be marketed as an immune system booster!

          (just kidding of course)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:29AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:29AM (#960254)

    She'll probably conflate asthma with autism and lobby to get cleaning products banned.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:12PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:12PM (#960277)

    It really is a struggle to find cleaners that don't they make a ton of fumes.
    Bleach is one of the worst along with oven cleaner and toilet cleaners.

    I have been using Method brand spray cleaner for hard countertops. It's pretty weak stuff, but usually gets the job done, and has no fumes. Method bathroom cleaner is good for soap scum and general bathroom cleaning. It's a stronger cleaner but still no fumes. I have been using Clorox GreenWorks for toilets. You have to let it sit in the toilet bowl for several minutes as opposed to the stronger cleaners that only take 30 seconds. But it gets the job done.

    For cleaning windows, unfortunately I have not found anything better than ammonia containing products like Windex.

    The obvious tip when using strong chemicals is of course to throw open the damn windows. And leave them open for a long time afterwards.

    • (Score: 2) by Snospar on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:22PM

      by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:22PM (#960282)

      Just use a steam cleaner. No nasty cleaning agents required.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Immerman on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:50PM (1 child)

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday February 20 2020, @02:50PM (#960286)

      Vinegar and water work wonders. And just a little cornstarch mixed in makes for streak-free window cleaning (don't ask me why that works). Acid can bleach some surfaces, so test someplace discrete before using, but mostly it works wonderfully. A drop or two of essential oil in a spray bottle's worth can add a much more natural fresh scent, and the vinegar odor fades rapidly.

      Ammonia (a base) is good for cutting heavy grease, but acid works pretty well on almost everything else.

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday February 21 2020, @03:21AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Friday February 21 2020, @03:21AM (#960578) Homepage

        I haven't tried cornstarch in it, but vinegar was the only thing that got the film-of-ancient-days off my windows. Windex just made a smeary mess. Soap didn't cut it. Vinegar took it right off.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:09PM

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:09PM (#960489) Journal

      One of the very best, no noxious fumes, inexpensive, easy to acquire: hot water.

    • (Score: 2) by RedIsNotGreen on Friday February 21 2020, @12:55AM (1 child)

      by RedIsNotGreen (2191) on Friday February 21 2020, @12:55AM (#960525) Homepage Journal

      just water is enough for almost everything. vinegar and bronners when you really need it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @03:00AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @03:00AM (#960571)

        You obviously don't have children or dogs.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday February 21 2020, @03:19AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Friday February 21 2020, @03:19AM (#960576) Homepage

      Just use straight vinegar. Does a good job on most dirt and grease, and dissolves the hard water residue that makes stuff look grubby even when it's clean.

      Simple Green smells wretched, but it works almost as good as oven cleaner.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ledow on Friday February 21 2020, @09:40AM

      by ledow (5567) on Friday February 21 2020, @09:40AM (#960645) Homepage

      I am the absolute opposite of some vegan, eco-friendly hippy.

      But there's a brand of bathroom cleaner that I love - it's mostly just a detergent and water, but it smells of almond (marzipan, etc.) and it just cleans and it's supposed to be all plant-based.

      "YOU Bathroom Cleaner" it's called. It's not volatile, it's probably no stronger than a bit of soap, but it's good enough to clean generally.

      Someone gave me one and I loved the smell and buy packs of them now to keep in the bathroom.

      It doesn't need to be bleach-based, or hand-made from vinegar, to clean well enough, smell good enough, and not be obscenely odorous.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @04:51PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @04:51PM (#960343)

    seriously they even give the bottle of poison lovely colors like sweets. Its like an epidemic.

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