Wednesday, October 08, 2008 by: Tom Mosakowski
8 (NaturalNews) Exposure to household cleaning products during pregnancy and early life makes children more likely to develop asthma. Research has already proven that a young child's risk of acquiring asthma increases if their early life lacks viruses, bacteria and endotoxins (pathogen products). This is called the 'hygiene hypothesis' and it theorizes that this exposure in a person's early life is required for the immune system to develop and strengthen properly.This research, contained in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) of the University of Bristol of the United Kingdom, takes this theory one step further by suggesting that it is not merely the lack of bacteria and their products that lead to asthma and allergies, but in fact, the chemicals within household cleaning products. Previous evidence for this mechanism has come from studies of workers who are regularly exposed to similar cleaning chemicals and thus, have an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory ailments. Perhaps both a lack of antigens for a developing immune system to fight and chemicals in cleaning products have a role in the hygiene hypothesis.This long-term study has followed more than 13,000 children from before their birth to the age of sixteen. Early life exposure, including during pregnancy, to said chemicals correlated to a 41 percent increase in a child's risk of acquiring asthma by the age of seven.The prevalence of asthma in the United Kingdom and other developed countries has increased in recent years. The chemicals of household cleaning products are just one factor of the multifaceted origin of asthma's development. Other indoor environmental factors include tobacco smoke, dust mites, synthetic pillows with synthetic chemicals, and plasticizers from plastics found in household dust. Of the high-volume chemicals produced in amounts greater than 10,000 or 1 million pounds per year, which number almost 20,000 according to a study in 1996 , only 43% have been tested for human toxicity and just 7% have been studied for effects on human development.This study shows that the risk of asthma is not entirely dependent on the genes inherited from a person's parents. While genetics probably has some role to play, the environment surrounding a developing person is as important to his health as the quality of the soil, light and water is to a growing plant.
 US EPA: Environmental Threats to Children's Health. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA (1996).About the authorTom Mosakowski, B.S. Biochemistry.