Clean your House, Develop Asthma

According to a recent study from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain, using household cleaning sprays and scented air fresheners as little as once a week can raise a person’s risk of developing adult asthma. CBC.ca reports:

Fifteen per cent, or one in seven, adult asthma cases could be attributed to use of cleaning and deodorizing sprays, according to the study.

As someone who has trouble breathing while walking past the cleaning section of the local drug store, this does not come as a great surprise. What is interesting is just how much your risk of developing asthma increases:

The risk of developing asthma increased with frequency of cleaning and number of different sprays used, but on average was about 30 to 50 per cent higher in people regularly exposed to cleaning sprays than in others.

Cleaning sprays such as air fresheners, furniture cleaners and glass cleaners had a particularly strong effect.

The researchers theorize that chemicals in the products trigger an inflammatory response in the lungs when the particles are inhaled.

The moral of the story is, if you need an air freshener, don’t use a spray: get up and bake some cookies, a cake or a pie. And if you need cleaners, make sure that you are using one of the increasing number of scent-free, less-toxic products on the market. Finally, if you need a cleaner that is sold as a spray, you can easily replace the spray top with a normal squirt top and just squirt a little bit of the cleaner on a cloth. We have been doing that lately and it works just as well without hurting the lungs. As an added bonus, you use a lot less. And with the money you save, you can cook another batch of cookies!