A recent study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, suggests that passive exposure to bleach can increase the chances of infections in children. Bleach is a common commodity at home, and while they are effective in cleaning things, they pose a health hazard to our children.
The research was carried out in a number of schools in Europe, and the results have been a cause for concern. The researchers believe that, even though, the case of our homes should be free of microorganisms and bacteria, outlined in most adverts are true, but the adverse effects should be outlined as well.
The study was conducted with the help of a questionnaire designed to get the parents consent about the infections their children had in the past year and their frequency of using bleach at home. A similar questionnaire was designed for schools in these countries to assess the exposure to bleach at schools as well. Spain seemed to be the worst affected country while Finland was the least affected.
A number of other things were also taken into account, so as to make the study as thorough as possible. This included passive smoking at home, the presence of mold among other, nearly everything that could decrease the immunity against infections was taken into account. The most common infections were related to respiration. The risk of flu was seen to increase by 20%, while that of tonsils increased by 35%, due to passive contact with bleach. The risks of recurring infections were also noted to increase by a factor of 18%.
The conclusions were not however definitive since a few things were not taken into account. The researchers did agree to the fact that they had missed counting the exposure levels or the fact that other cleaning products might have been used as well. Still, the findings did confirm the belief of numerous other studies that cleaning products are linked to respiratory problems and inflammation. The paper however did say that airborne bleach particles do cause inflammation, by damaging the lining of the lungs.