Recent research shows how common household cleaning products are linked to childhood asthma. The study links poorer respiratory health in young children with early exposure to these irritants.
Infants are very vulnerable to chronic, low-level chemical exposure through their lungs and skin. This is because they have a higher respiration rate, spend so much time indoors and are in regular contact with household surfaces.
The research shows that exposing them to cleaning chemicals can cause chronic inflammation of their respiratory lining. This can trigger asthma symptoms and worsen asthma control. Scented products and sprays are associated with the highest risks.
The results indicate that switching to non-toxic household cleaning products reduces the risk of childhood asthma.
This also benefits the health of adults. Asthma UK says that nearly 5.5 million people in the UK receive treatment for asthma, including around 1.1 million children. This costs the NHS about £1 billion a year.
In 2018 1,422 people died from asthma, in England Wales. This was 8% more deaths than in 2017.
Poorer Respiratory Health Links to Cleaning Products
The research key findings show the cleaning products most linked to asthma:
- Exposure to hand soap, washing up liquid, dishwasher detergent, multi-surface cleaners, glass cleaners and laundry soap linked to asthma. Of the 2,000 children, those exposed more frequently to these cleaning products had a 35 per cent greater risk of developing asthma symptoms by the age of three.
- Scented and sprayed cleaning products linked to the highest risk of respiratory issues. These may also be important drivers of poor immune system health outcomes.
- Substances in cleaning products may alter a child’s microbiome, the ‘good’ bacteria found in the body that play a significant role in health.
- Changing household cleaning behaviours can potentially avoid respiratory ill health in children.
Recommendations When Choosing Cleaning Products
- Always read cleaning product labels. It is not always a requirement for manufacturers to list all ingredients in cleaning products.
- Some “green” products are not regulated and may contain harmful substances.
- Choose products that reduce the risk of childhood asthma, whilst ensuring high levels of hygiene and indoor air quality. i.e. choose products that:
– Do NOT contain volatile organic compounds
– Do NOT contain fragrance. Never use air fresheners
– Do NOT contain irritants
– DO reduce mould and allergens
These probiotic products are respectful of health and they are free from chemicals, toxins, irritants and carcinogens.
Read the Canadian Medical Association Journal Research. Research Reference: Association of Use of Cleaning Products with Respiratory Health in a Canadian Birth Cohort: Jaclyn Parks BSc et al CMAJ 2020 February 18; 192: E154-61. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.190819