Pregnant? Home chemicals can increase risk of asthma

Exposure to everyday indoor household products such as cleaners, cosmetics or solvents, even at ‘normal’ levels, can increase the risk of asthma in children, report a team in Perth, Western Australia.

Assessing the home exposures and health status of 88 children diagnosed with asthma and 104 without asthma, the team found that asthmatic children were exposed to higher levels of volatile organic compounds from products in their homes.

The more exposure, the more likely the children studied were to have developed asthma. The most harmful exposure seemed to be benzene. For each 10-unit risk in benzene, the risk of asthma increased nearly three times. Toluene was also linked to a doubling of risk for each 10-unit increase in exposure. The researchers suggested that more studies are needed to establish whether adults are a
ffected in the same way.


First Published in October 2004

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