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Cleaning products may be linked to children's asthma

August 30, 2004|From Reuters

Exposure to fumes emitted by cleaning products in the home may be linked to asthma in children.

Researchers have found that children exposed to higher levels of volatile organic compounds are four times more likely to suffer from asthma than children who were not. Volatile organic compounds are found in solvents, paints, floor adhesives, cleaning products, polishes, room fresheners and carpets.

The study, led by Krassi Rumchev of the School of Public Health at Curtin University of Technology in Australia, involved 88 children who were treated for asthma at the emergency department of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.

The researchers found that volatile organic compound concentrations were higher in homes where people smoked indoors, as well as in homes that had been recently painted or had new carpets. But they did not have enough data to conclude for certain whether use of household products were to blame.

"Given that VOCs are carcinogenic [cancer causing] and some may be significantly related to asthma, it is important that an increased understanding of the factors that affect their indoor concentration is achieved," said the study, published Thursday in the British Medical Assn.'s journal Thorax.

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