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Health Hazards in Household Cleaners Exposed
Date:7/25/2008

Use of certain cleaning products reduces lung function, increases asthma risk, studies find,,,,

FRIDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- A clean, fresh-smelling home may actually be bad for your health, depending on what type of cleaning and air freshening products you use.

Recent research suggests that exposure to cleaning products or air fresheners that contain a certain volatile organic compound (VOC) called 1,4 dicholorobenzene (1,4 DCB), can reduce lung function by 4 percent. Another study found that the use of spray household cleaners could increase the risk of developing asthma by nearly 50 percent.

Yet a third study, reported by University of Washington researchers this week in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review, found that the fumes from air fresheners and fragrances contain hazardous toxins, none of which were listed on product labels since companies are not required by the federal government to disclose the ingredients in these products.

"I don't think everybody's getting asthma from air fresheners and house cleaners, but this suggests that more research needs to be done," said Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital in Detroit.

Most people with asthma instinctively avoid these types of products, said Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the division of allergy and immunology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. But, he added, the study on VOCs "suggests that other people should probably avoid them, especially considering the way we live in our homes today, tightly wrapped inside, so that if there are any chemicals present, we're constantly breathing them in."

VOCs are found in cleaning products, paints, tobacco smoke and other household chemicals, according to the study, which appeared in a recent issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Benzene and acetone are two commonly used VOCs. The volatile organic compound
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