August 26, 2004,
Reuters News Service
(Reuters) - Exposure to
fumes emitted by cleaning products in the home could cause asthma in
children, a study published Thursday shows.
The study, in the British Medical Association's journal Thorax,
found that children exposed to higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
were four times more likely to suffer from asthma than children who were
VOCs are found in solvents, paints, floor adhesives, cleaning
products, polishes, room fresheners and fitted carpets, the study said.
The authors, led by Krassi Rumchev of the School of
Public Health at Curtin University of Technology in Australia,
studied 88 children who were treated for asthma at the emergency department
of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.
"Our study supports the hypothesis that exposure to indoor
pollutants might be important in the genesis of asthma," the authors wrote.
They found VOC concentrations were higher in homes where people
smoked indoors, as well as homes that had been recently painted or had new
But they said they did not have enough data to conclude for certain
whether use of household products such as cleaning products, paints and
hobby supplies were to blame.
"Given that VOCs are carcinogenic (cancer causing) and some may be
significantly related to asthma, it is important that an increased
understanding of the factors that affect their indoor concentration is
achieved," the study said.
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