Bleach may increase children’s risk of infection: study

Barcelona, Spain – Children who live in homes where bleach is regularly used for cleaning may have a higher risk of infection, findings from a new European study suggest.

Researchers surveyed parents of more than 9,000 children attending schools in the Netherlands, Finland and Spain. Parents were asked about a variety of infections their children experienced in the previous year, and whether bleach was used to clean their homes at least once a week.

In homes where parents used the chemical disinfectant, children’s risk of flu was 20 percent greater, and risk of recurrent tonsillitis was 35 percent greater, according to a press release from BMJ, which published the study.

Although the researchers drew a correlation between the use of bleach and children’s infections, they cautioned that no definitive conclusions could be made due to limitations in the study that included a lack of data on exposure levels.

However, the findings indicating a link back up similar studies examining the connection between cleaning products and respiratory symptoms, according to BMJ.

The study – which was published online April 2 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine – was conducted by researchers from a variety of European health institutions, including the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona.