Housecleaning products may pose a threat to women with asthma, US reI searchers say.

The Study

During a 12-week study, researchers compared cleaning-related health effects in women who did and did not have asthma and found more lower-respiratory tract symptoms among the asthmatic women.

Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues found that "women in both groups exhibited increased upper- and lower-respiratory tract symptoms in response to cleaning agents rated mild in toxicity, suggesting a subtle but potentially clinically relevant health effect of long-term, low-level chemical exposures."

The study was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.


The researchers recommended, “that women with asthma should be routinely interviewed as to whether they clean their home and cautioned about the potential respiratory health effects of these activities."

Asthma affects about 20 million people in the United States. Death rates from the disease are higher among women than men. In many homes, women are the primary cleaners.

Authors of the study concluded that "...longer, prospective studies of nonprofessional household cleaners are needed to determine whether there is an association between household cleaning agent exposure and the development of asthma."

Household Sprays Raise Asthma Risk by 76%

Using a spray furniture or glass cleaner or a spray air freshener just once a week increased the risk of developing asthma by up to 76%.

Best: Use non-spray products.

Thunderstorms Linked to Asthma Attacks

When researchers recently analyzed about 10 million emergency room visits, those due to asthma attacks were 3% higher on days following a thunderstorm versus days when a storm had not occurred.

Theory: During thunderstorms, rain, possibly combined with the electrical fields produced by lightning, breaks up pollen grains that are spread by gusty winds.

If you have asthma: Try to stay indoors during and immediately after thunderstorms.

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