Exposure to Cleaning Products May Compromise Infants' Lungs
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Keeping a clean house may protect against the spread of germs, but early exposure to household cleaning agents could have an unwanted effect on young children, according to data from a Canadian birth cohort.

Infants whose caregivers reported frequent use of household cleaning products when the child was 3 to 4 months of age were at increased risk for asthma and recurrent wheeze at 3 years compared with infants whose caregivers reported less frequent use, researchers report in an article published online February 18 in the CMAJ.

However, there was no significant association between exposure to cleaning agents and atopy, suggesting that the observed respiratory vulnerabilities may result from inflammatory rather than allergic processes, note Jaclyn Parks, a graduate student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues.

Because most of the evidence linking exposure to cleaning products and respiratory problems comes from adult populations, the investigators sought to analyze the effects in children. "Young children, who spend 80%–90% of their time indoors in early life, are especially vulnerable because of their increased respiration rate and proximity to the ground, which increases gaseous and dermal exposures," they write.
The authors analyzed data collected between 2008 and 2015 from the ongoing Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) cohort study, which involves 3455 children. hey found that 666 children came from households with low use of cleaning products, 700 came from moderate-use households, and 656 came from high-use households.At 3 years, 13.8% (n = 280) of the children were atopic, 8.6% (n = 174) had recurrent wheeze, 6.4% (n = 129) had received a diagnosis of asthma, and 2.1% (n = 42) had recurrent wheeze with atopy.

A multivariable analysis showed a higher proportion of all outcomes except atopy in children with higher exposure, after adjusting for the following factors: parental history of asthma, the child's sex, ethnicity, household income, city/location, prenatal or early-life smoking exposure, pet ownership, and visible mold in the home.
Regarding specific categories of cleaners, the investigators found that the risk for respiratory problems was higher when liquid or solid air fresheners, spray air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, dusting sprays, antimicrobial hand sanitizers, and oven cleaners were used frequently compared with infrequent use.

"A proposed mechanism for our findings is that chemicals in cleaning products damage the respiratory epithelium by affecting inflammatory pathways of the innate immune system rather than allergic pathways," the authors write.

Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/925463#vp_2
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