Here’s a bummer thought for any of us who like to keep a tidy household. A new study shows that scrubbing and other household chores might prompt breathing problems in individuals with asthma.
Talk about conflicts of interest. It might seem that keeping a home dust-free and without germs would be nothing but positive. But researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine found that exposure to cleaning agents can be a major risk for “asthma exacerbations.”
Dr. Jonathan A. Bernstein, the study’s lead reseacher, said previous findings that “cleaning as an occupation” triggered asthmatic reaction led him to investigate whether there were similar effects for the general population “who obviously clean their homes.”
In a 12-week study, Bernstein and colleagues found that female volunteers who suffered from asthma were significantly more affected than subjects with no asthmatic tendencies. Nonetheless, the researchers reported that all women in the study “exhibited respiratory symptoms in response to exposure to cleaning agents rated mild in toxicity.” They speculated that long-term low-level exposure to such household cleaning chemicals might be more problematic for personal health than, say, television commercials might allow.
Bernstein and his Cincinnati colleagues recommended that health practitioners should caution women with asthma or other respiratory challenges to be wary of all cleaning agents and extreme and/or lengthy exposure. The warning is logical, but, frankly, the Alternative Health Blog is not thinking this discussion goes on in too many M.D.’s offices.
Yet it is undeniable that America’s grocery, pharmacy and big-box store shelves are filled with potential irritants and toxins disguised at cleaning products. It is incumbent upon all of us—whether we suffer asthma symptoms or not—to be aware of how cleaning products make us feel physically while using the
Be diligent about how you feel, even 24 or 48 hours after the household dusting and spiffing. It could mean the difference between consistently knocking your immune and energy systems off balance or feeling good. You might even discover a whole new definition of being clean.
Bob Condor blogs for Alternative Health Journal every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.