A new study has found a close association between passive exposure to bleach at home and increased rates of childhood respiratory and other infectious health troubles.
According to the researchers, the study’s results hold high concern to public health just because of the fact that bleach is widely used at home.
For the study, a team of researchers involved more than 9,000 children, who were in their age group 6 to 12, attending 19 schools in Utrecht in The Netherlands, 18 schools in Barcelona in Spain and 17 schools in Eastern and Central Finland. The researchers then looked at the possible impact of bleach exposure among all the participating children at home.
Explaining the need of the study, the researchers noted, “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.”
During the study period, the researchers asked the parents of the participating children to fill a questionnaire about the number and frequency of flu, sinusitis, tonsillitis, otitis, bronchitis and pneumonia infections suffered by their little ones in the preceding 12 months.
The parents were also asked about if bleach was used at their homes for cleaning purposes at least once a week.
The study showed use of bleach was common in Spain and Finland with 72 percent and rare 7 percent respondents respectively. Moreover, all schools in Spain were found to be cleaned with bleach, while schools in Finland were not found using the chemical.
Concluding the findings, the researchers said the study indicated that the infections’ number and frequency were higher among kids whose parents used bleach for the cleaning purposes regularly at the home in all three countries.
These differences were statistically important for tonsillitis flu, and any other infection.
The findings of the study were published online in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.