A new study has found infants exposed to the harsh chemicals in cleaning products are more likely to develop asthma later in life.
The study, published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, analysed data about the dangers posed by exposure to cleaning products to 2022 infants in the first three months of their lives.
At the age of three, the researchers then tested the children who were exposed to high levels of the products to see whether there were developments of asthma, wheeze or allergies.
The study concluded there was an association between cleaning product exposure in the early stages of life and the risk of asthma and wheeze.
“We can’t tell which brands are worse than others based on the data that we have, but we think that the findings are enough to tell the public that maybe they should limit their exposure or find ways to minimise the hazard that comes with these exposures,” the study’s lead author Jaclyn Parks told CTV News.
The researchers believe chemicals in these products can trigger the inflammatory pathways of the immune system, and then harm the respiratory lining which can result in asthma and wheeze.
Childhood asthma has increased over the past several decades and is a leading cause of childhood chronic disease and admissions to hospitals in developing countries.
The first months of a baby’s life are crucial for the development of the immune and respiratory system.
The study said by identifying hazardous exposure during infanthood, preventable factors could reduce childhood asthma and allergy risk.
Young children spend 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors in early life and are especially vulnerable because of their increased breathing rate and being low to the ground.
The researchers suggest choosing products with fewer ingredients and to avoid spray bottles, as they carry a higher risk for harmful chemicals.
“Instead of spraying them, you should put them on a cloth instead,” Parks told CTV news
“You can also look into rinsing a surface after you’ve cleaned with it.”