Household bleach exposure increases infection rate in children

Household bleach exposure increases infection rate in children

Household bleach exposure increases infection rate in children, according to new research from the British Medical Journal.

The research team believes that the results of the study should be cause for concern in the area of public health. They are urging for more research on the subject.

The team analyzed the effects of bleach exposure among over 9000 children in the Netherlands, Barcelona, and Finland between the ages 6-12.

Their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire on the rates of flu, tonsillitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, otitis, and pneumonia their children had in the past year. They were also asked about bleach use in their households.

In Spain, 72 percent of participants used bleach, while in Finland, usage rates were only 7 percent. Additionally, all Spanish schools were cleaned with bleach, while the Finnish schools were not.

After analysis of all factors, the research team concluded that household bleach exposure increases infection rate in children.

The risk of one episode of flu infection was 20 percent higher, and recurrent tonsillitis risk was 35 percent higher among households that used bleach.

The overall risk of any infection was 18 percent higher in households that regularly used bleach.

The researchers wrote: “The high frequency of use of disinfecting cleaning products, caused by the erroneous belief, reinforced by advertising, that our homes should be free of microbes, makes the modest effects reported in our study of public health concern.”

Passive exposure to cleaning bleach in the home may have adverse effects on school-age children’s health by increasing the risk of respiratory and other infections. The high frequency of use of disinfecting irritant cleaning products may be of public health concern, also when exposure occurs during childhood,” they concluded.

The study showing that household bleach exposure increases infection rate in children was published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

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1. “Passive Exposure to Bleach at Home Linked to Higher Childhood Infection Rate.” EurekAlert! BMJ, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2015.
2. “Domestic Use of Bleach and Infections in Children: A Multicentre Cross-sectional Study.” BMJ. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2015.
3. “Could Passive Exposure to Bleach Increase Infection Rates in Kids?Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

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