Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease and is the primary reason why children miss school or end up in hospital. Most of the available evidence linking asthma to the use of cleaning products comes from research in adults, New study looked at infants, who typically spend 80-90% of their time indoors and are especially vulnerable to chemical exposures through the lungs and skin due to their higher respiration rates and regular contact with household surfaces. Children living in homes where cleaning products were used with high frequency during their infancy were more likely to have:
- Recurrent wheeze (10.8 percent, compared to 7.7 percent of infants in homes with low use of these products)
- Recurrent wheeze with atopy, a heightened immune response to common allergens (3.0 percent, compared to 1.5 percent of infants in homes with low use of these products)
- Asthma (7.9 percent, compared to 4.8 percent of infants in homes with low use of these products)
Other factors known to affect the onset of asthma, such as family history and early life exposure to tobacco smoke, were accounted for in the analysis. the chemicals in cleaning products damage the cells that line the respiratory tract through innate inflammatory pathways rather than acquired allergic pathways.The relationship between product exposure and respiratory problems was much stronger in girls than boys.This is an interesting finding that requires more research to better understand male versus female biological responses to inflammatory exposures in early life.By identifying hazardous exposures during infancy, preventive measures can be taken to potentially reduce childhood asthma and subsequent allergy risk.