Interesting Information: April 20, 2015
Household Bleach Exposure Increases Infection Rate in Children
When my mother got really sick, and we children had to clean out her house, I took on the bathrooms. I wanted them to be really clean so the house would show better. The bathrooms were old at this stage, and there was a lot of “stuff” in the grout on the floor–after years of use and just surface cleaning. I used almost pure bleach to scrub the tiles clean. Now, mother’s bathrooms were not big, so the spaces were very confined. Additionally, I cleaned out the bottom kitchen cabinets and scrubbed them with bleach. More confined spaces. Lots of fumes.
For some time after this cleaning frenzy, I knew that I had harmed my lungs. How could I have been so stupid? It took at least a year before I felt like my lungs were healthy again.
This study is one of those that can ONLY show correlation, not causation. Questionnaires are not gold standard science. But this kind of study can point to areas that need further study.
Chlorine is, as we know but, like me, don’t pay enough attention to–I mean, bleach is just so ubiquitous in all of our households–poisonous, toxic.
So, be careful with it. And try other chemicals first–like hydrogen peroxide and baking soda…
Google a bit, and you’ll get some recipes to try.
Here’s the article, and the url is below:
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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