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Is This Household Cleaner Increasing Your Risk of Asthma?

Is This Household Cleaner Increasing Your Risk of Asthma?

When Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys recorded “409” in 1962, they were referring to Chevrolet’s hot-rod, eight-cylinder, 409 cubic-inch engine. Around the same time, the spray cleaner, Formula 409, hit the shelves. TV host Art Linkletter and his business partners purchased it for $30,000 and then sold it to Clorox for $7 million a few years later. Did The Beach Boys—or should we say The Bleach Boys—boost the popularity of the household cleaning agent? Maybe.

These days, they might regret it. A study in the journal Environmental & Occupational Medicine says frequent use of toxic, bleach-based household cleaning products causes a two-fold increase in the risk for asthma in adults aged 19 to 24. Another study found infants born to women who were exposed to these chemicals while pregnant have increased rates of asthma.

So, what should you do if you want to get out a stain or kill mold around the house?  There are cleaning products out there with fewer harsh toxins and those with volatile organic chemicals, but a good scrub with soap, water and a little vinegar will often do the trick. If you must use harsh cleansers, make sure the area is well ventilated, that no children or pets are around and be sure you’re wearing protective eyewear, a mask or are using a ventilator.

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

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