My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Household Cleaners and Asthma Risk in Children

Dandelion Clock
The prevalence of asthma in the U.S. increased by 75% from 1980–1994, and the asthma rates in children younger than 5 increased more than 160% during that same period,

It’s the most common chronic childhood disease in the developed world and has become even more commonplace in the past three decades.

In a 2004 study evaluating the risk of asthma development in children, researchers concluded that “domestic exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at levels below currently accepted recommendations may increase the risk of childhood asthma.” VOCs are found in many household products and also may be embedded in the house itself as part of the paint, flooring, or furniture.

Another study of nearly 14,000 children found that the more frequently household chemicals such as bleach or window cleaner were used during pregnancy, the higher the risk that the young child would have persistent wheezing. More troubling was that the relationship between household chemicals and wheezing remained even after factors such as parental smoking and family history of asthma were taken into account.

Although there’s no cure, asthma often can be controlled by avoidance of triggers, appropriate dietary and supplement strategies, and, of course, medication as prescribed.
  • Exclusive breast-feeding is believed to be effective in reducing subsequent development of allergies and may reduce the the risk of asthma in children.
  • Antioxidants in the diet, including selenium and vitamins C and E, may have a protective effect.
  • Probiotics are promising as they may produce changes in the gut that stimulate the immune system.
  • And preliminary research has shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may decrease the inflammatory response, including the production of inflammatory mediators in asthmatic patients.

Asthma and related conditions are not the only risks associated with ingredients in common household products.

  • Butyl cellosolve, often found in all-purpose cleaners, abrasive, and glass cleaners, is a potentially toxic chemical in the glycol-ether family of chemicals. Ingesting large amounts of butyl cellosolve may cause breathing problems, low blood pressure, low hemoglobin levels, acidic blood, and blood in the urine.
  • Exposure to high levels of ammonia, found in glass cleaners, may be irritating to the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs, and it can cause coughing and burns. Also, asthma sufferers may be more sensitive to breathing ammonia than others.
  • Hypochlorite, found in common household bleach and automatic dishwasher detergents, causes more poisoning exposures than any other household cleaning substance and was the source of over 50,000 poisonings in 2005 alone, according to a report from the Poison Control Center’s National Poisoning and Exposure Database.
  • Drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and toilet bowl cleaners are some of the most dangerous products in our homes. Drain and oven cleaners may contain lye or sodium hydroxide, which can cause severe corrosive damage to eyes, skin, mouth, and stomach if swallowed. Toilet bowl cleaners may contain chlorine or hydrochloric acid. Even brief exposure to low levels of hydrochloric acid vapor can result in throat irritation, and increased exposure can result in rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchioles, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and even death.
There’s a long list of dangerous chemicals that are under most sinks in this country—they’re even in some products that claim to be green. For more detailed information about the chemicals used in household products, visit the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Web site at

Information taken from Shaklee Corporation, "Superwellness for Super Kids"

Other Health Hazards Related to Cleaning-
Product Ingredients

No comments:

Post a Comment