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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 20 2020, @08:48AM   Printer-friendly
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: 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.

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  • (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) <> 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.
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          • (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) <> 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.