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10/4/2015

CREAL: Passive exposure to bleach at home linked to higher childhood infection rate

CREAL: Passive exposure to bleach at home linked to higher childhood infection rate


News from CREAL


Passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to higher rates of childhood respiratory and other infections, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. Although modest, the results are of public health concern in light of the widespread use of bleach in the home, according the study.

The researchers looked at the potential impact of exposure to bleach in the home among more than 9000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 attending 19 schools in Utrecht, The Netherlands; 17 schools in Eastern and Central Finland; and 18 schools in Barcelona, Spain.

After taking account of influential factors, such as passive smoking at home, parental education, the presence of household mould, and use of bleach to clean school premises, the findings indicated that the number and frequency of infections were higher among children whose parents regularly used bleach to clean the home in all three countries.

“These differences were statistically significant for flu tonsillitis, and any infection”, explains Dr. Lidia Casas, first author of this study and researcher at CREAL and at the Centre Environment and Health (KULeuven, Belgium).

The risk of one episode of flu in the previous year was 20% higher and recurrent tonsillitis was 35% higher among children whose parents used bleach to clean the home. Similarly, the frequency of any recurrent infection was 18% higher among children whose parents regularly used cleaning bleach.

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Reference:
Casas L, Espinosa A, Borràs-Santos A, et al. Domestic use of bleach and infections in children: a multicentre cross-sectional study. Occup Environ Med. [Online First doi 10.1136/oemed-2014-102701]