Friday 22 November 2019

Cleaning with bleach could expose children to infection

Parents who regularly use bleach may be causing their children to be more vulnerable to infection
Parents who regularly use bleach may be causing their children to be more vulnerable to infection

Emma Jane Hade

Parents who regularly use bleach to clean the family home may be causing their young children to become more vulnerable to infections.

There was a 20pc increased risk of children catching the flu that lived in homes where bleach products were regularly used for cleaning, according to a new study published by 'Occupational and Environmental Medicine'.

The research details that "passive exposure to cleaning bleach in the home may have adverse affects on school-age children's health by increasing the risk of respiratory and other infections".

And, experts have cited the findings as a "public health concern" as the exposure to these products was also linked to 35pc increase in the risk of recurrent tonsillitis.

Parents who participated in the research were asked if they used bleach to clean in the home at least once a week, and they were also asked to provide details on the prevalence of infections over the previous 12-months - such as flu, tonsillitis, sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia - amongst their children.

The research team also took into account a number of other varying factors which may influence the frequency of illness, including passive smoking, parental education, the presence of household mould and the use of bleach to clean in schools.

The study, which was led by the University of Leuven in Belgium, took into account more than 9,000 families who had children aged between six and 12-years-old.

And, the families who participated in the research were based in the Barcelona, Spain as well as Ultrecht in the Netherlands and Eastern and Central Finland.

Seventy-two pc of Spanish respondents used bleach but this figure was dramatically lower in Finland where just seven pc said they used the product.

Dr Lidia Casas, a member of the Centre for Environment and Health in Belgium, said there is now a need for "more detailed studies in this area", as the results "although modest…are of a public health concern in light of the widespread use of bleach in the home".

This stark warning comes as last month it was revealed that 168 people contacted the National Poisons Information Centre in relation to liquid detergents throughout 2014. In 90pc of these cases, the liquid detergents had been swallowed.

Irish Independent

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