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Household Cleaners Linked to Higher Risk of Adult Asthma

People who frequently use sprays to clean their homes may have more than double the risk

THURSDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Using spray cleaners frequently around the household may be a significant risk factor for adult asthma, according to research published in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Jan-Paul Zock, Ph.D., of the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,503 adults responsible for doing the cleaning in their homes, from 10 countries in Europe. All were free of asthma at baseline, and average length of follow-up was nine years.

The researchers found that using cleaning sprays -- such as glass and furniture cleaners and air fresheners -- at least once weekly was associated with an increased risk of asthma symptoms or use of medication (relative risk 1.49). Using cleaners at least four days a week was associated with higher risk of physician-diagnosed asthma (RR, 2.11).

"There is the need for researchers to conduct further studies to elucidate both the extent and mechanism of the respiratory toxicity associated with such products," writes Kenneth D. Rosenman, M.D., of Michigan State University in East Lansing, in an accompanying editorial. "The industrial producers and government regulators must improve the toxicological testing of these products."

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