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Asthma linked to cleaning sprays

The use of cleaning sprays and bleach could be linked to a rise in asthma at home and at work, a health expert has warned.

Jan-Paul Zock, from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, cited growing evidence that cleaning products can trigger asthma and make existing symptoms worse.

Professional cleaners and health workers who use products in hospitals are particularly at risk, he said.

Dr Zock told a European allergy conference in London that studies had already found higher rates of asthma among cleaners, caretakers, housekeepers and nurses.

Breathing in bleach, decalcifiers, ammonia, solvents, acids and stain removers more than once a week was linked to a 20% increase in asthma or wheezing, Dr Zock said.

People who use cleaning products frequently are most in danger, as are those who use them for long periods.

How strong a product is, together with how well a room is ventilated, also affects the level of danger.

"The number of people at risk is very large," said Dr Zock, adding that more research was necessary.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"As a person who has suffered from asthma and allergies from birth I totally agree with Dr Zock. I no longer use spray products in my home; I use antibacterial cloths which has improved my health" - BA Richardson, Essex