New research claims that housework 'can cause asthma'

Monday, 23 November 2009  | 

Giving your house a weekly clean could be enough to give you asthma, claims new 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.

Professor Neil Barnes, spokesperson for the British Lung Foundation said “This research opens up an interesting avenue for further study, but more investigation is needed to establish whether spray cleaners can cause asthma rather than simply make existing symptoms worse. The more we understand about the biological mechanisms that can trigger someone’s asthma, the more we can do to manage their condition.”

Press release courtesy of the British Lung Foundation

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