Domestic Cleaning - GreenValet Ltd

By: Greenvalet  05/12/2011

Grow­ing Evidence

A grow­ing body of evi­dence sug­gests a clear cor­re­la­tion between use of toxic clean­ing prod­ucts in the home and the devel­op­ment of asthma in children.

It has long been known that chil­dren who grow up with­out expo­sure to bac­te­ria tend to have weaker immune sys­tems. How­ever, it has been dif­fi­cult to estab­lish whether the clean­ing agents used to kill bac­te­ria them­selves play a direct role in increas­ing the like­li­hood of devel­op­ing asthma, as a range of oth­ers fac­tors can influ­ence its onset (e.g. fam­ily his­tory, par­ents who smoke, or the damp­ness of the home). How­ever, stud­ies are now emerg­ing which have been able to take all of these fac­tors into account and to estab­lish the link definitively.

Recent Research

Most famous and com­pre­hen­sive is the ALPSACstudy, based at the Uni­ver­sity of Bris­tol, UK, which sur­veyed 14,000 preg­nant women in 1991–2 and has fol­lowed most of them and their chil­dren ever since. In one strand of their research, they tracked moth­ers’ use of house­hold chem­i­cals while they were preg­nant and when their chil­dren were young. They estab­lished that early life expo­sure to the chem­i­cals con­tained in house­hold clean­ing prod­ucts pro­duces a 40% increased risk of devel­op­ing asthma by the age of seven. In the 10% of fam­i­lies who use the chem­i­cals most fre­quently, the chil­dren were twice as likely to suf­fer wheez­ing prob­lems as the fam­i­lies where they were used least.

Larger Issues

Many of these chem­i­cals are used indus­tri­ally at higher con­cen­tra­tions, where their impact on work­ers has been tested and fre­quently exposed as highly dam­ag­ing over time. How­ever, lit­tle or no test­ing has been done on their impact at the lower con­cen­tra­tions found in house­hold prod­ucts. And more than 1000 new chem­i­cals are intro­duced every year, whose long-term effects are almost entirely unknown.

This grow­ing body of evi­dence makes a strong case for seek­ing out non-toxic domes­tic clean­ing prod­ucts which will pro­tect chil­dren from asthma and other illnesses.

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