Date
18 November 2017
Major home renovations are liable to expose infants to serious health hazards such as formaldehyde pollution, according to a Chinese expert. Photos: Bloomberg, HKEJ
Major home renovations are liable to expose infants to serious health hazards such as formaldehyde pollution, according to a Chinese expert. Photos: Bloomberg, HKEJ

Mainland expert links infant leukemia to home renovations

A new study has found that 90 percent of children suffering from leukemia have been exposed to formaldehyde pollution during home renovations.

The study found a link between indoor air quality and babies or infants who stay at home most of the time, Sing Tao Daily reports, citing respiratory disease specialist Zhong Nanshan.

Mainland families keen to renovate their homes because of the booming property market often fail to realize the serious health hazards of a major renovation project, according to the study cited by Apple Daily.

Every year, about 111,000 people in China die from illnesses associated with indoor air pollution, Zhong said, citing statistics from the China Environmental Protection Association.

Compared with adults, children take in more pollutants in the air as their respiratory tracts are narrower and therefore more prone to damage and blockage caused by irritants.

About half of the deaths caused by pneumonia in children aged five and above were due to indoor air pollution, according to statistics.

Zhong said many children would start getting sick when adults turn on air-conditioning in the summer due to the dust mites in filters.

Dust mites are found in 85 percent of homes and are a major cause of allergic rhinitis and asthma, he said.

Apple Daily quoted the study as saying that 70 percent of pregnant women who had miscarriage could also have been exposed to environmental pollution.

In the past 10 years, global asthma, eczema and rhinitis rates have been on the rise, especially in children.

Some mainland netizens have cast doubt on the accuracy of Zhong’s statistics, saying the numbers could have been exaggerated, but they agreed that the report served its purpose in raising awareness.

Other netizens said there is nowhere to hide as pollution is everywhere.

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