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For Immediate Release                         Contact:   Jo Ann Faber at  (847) 427-1200
January 22, 2009                                               joannfaber@acaai.org

 

Cleaning Activities May Be Harmful to Women with Asthma

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Cleaning activities may be associated with increased lower respiratory tract symptoms in women with asthma according to a study published this month in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Jonathan A. Bernstein, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Immunology/Allergy Section, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, and colleagues, reported that "women with asthma should be routinely interviewed as to whether they clean their home and cautioned about the potential respiratory health effects of these activities."

Asthma affects approximately 20 million people in the United States, but asthma mortality rates are higher among women compared with men. Women are usually the primary persons responsible for cleaning their homes.

This 12-week, parallel-group study compared health effects of cleaning among asthmatic and non-asthmatic women who are the primary cleaners in their homes. Investigators observed a statistically significant change in the number of lower respiratory tract symptoms for asthmatic patients compared with non-asthmatic patients, although no effect was observed on peak expiratory flow rates after cleaning between the groups.

Authors noted that "women in both groups exhibited increased upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms in response to cleaning  agents rated mild in toxicity, suggesting a subtle but potentially clinically relevant health effect of long-term low-level chemical exposures."

The authors conclude that "longer, prospective studies of nonprofessional household cleaners are needed to determine whether there is an association between household cleaning agent exposure and the development of asthma."  

Patient information on allergic diseases, including asthma, is available by visiting the ACAAI Web site at AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.

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Citation: JA Bernstein, et al. Evaluation of cleaning activities on respiratory symptoms in asthmatic female homemakers. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2009;102:41-46.

Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology is online at www.annallergy.org.

 
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