Azara Blog: Household sprays allegedly linked with asthma

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Date published: 2007/10/13

The BBC says:

Giving your house a weekly clean could be enough to give you asthma, according to research.

A study found using household cleaning sprays and air fresheners as little as once a week raised the risk of asthma.

Heavy use of such products has already been linked with occupational asthma, but the latest work suggests occasional use in the home also poses a threat.

The Spanish study of more than 3,500 is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The risk of developing asthma increased with frequency of cleaning and the number of different sprays used.

Spray air fresheners, furniture cleaners and glass cleaners carried the highest risk.

Exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15%, or one in seven adult asthma cases, the researchers suggest.

On average, the risk was 30-50% higher in people regularly used the sprays than in others.

And the incidence of physician-diagnosed asthma was higher among those using sprays at least four days per week

The study authors, Dr Jan-Paul Zock and colleagues from the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, said work was needed to determine the biological mechanism behind the increased risk.

As usual with health studies, all they have shown is a correlation, not a causation. Here there seem to be some plausible reasons why there might be a causation, but they need to do further work, for example by finding some real biological mechanism, before the research is really useful.

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