Frequent use of household cleaning products may increase the risk of rhinitis (the irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose) among children, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing a three-year study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Led by Dr. Lao Xiangqian, assistant professor of The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care (JCSPHPC) at the CUHK Faculty of Medicine, the research team investigated the effects of household cleaning products on the respiratory health of 2,299 pupils from 21 local primary schools.
During the study, which started in 2012, the students were divided into those with cumulative exposure to the cleaning products of less than 2.4 hours per week and those with cumulative exposure of more than 3.2 hours per week.
Those with longer exposure to the cleaning products showed an increased risk of 29 percent, 97 percent and 67 percent for occasional, frequent, and persistent rhinitis, respectively, compared with those with less exposure to the products.
Lao called for the development of healthier cleaning products.
Parents should also use fewer chemical cleaning products, maintain sufficient ventilation when using them, and consider doing the cleaning when children are not at home, he said.
Dr. Ellis Hon Kam-lun, a pediatrician, told Ming Pao Daily that rhinitis is a common respiratory disease among children.
It is caused by the allergic reaction of a person’s immune system to allergens such as house dust mites, pollen, spores, and certain animals.
Patients could try to reduce exposure to the allergens or take antihistamine tablets to relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Helen Leung from Living Green Project recommends the use of baking soda, white vinegar and tea seed powder to replace traditional household cleaners.
Baking soda and white vinegar can effectively remove stubborn stains on stoves.
Carpets and rugs can be deodorized by first spraying them with baking soda, allowing the powder to settle and then removing it by a vacuum cleaner.
Tea seed powder is also a good alternative to detergents for removing oil from the dishes, Leung added.
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