The link between clean houses and asthma in kids

Non-toxic household cleaners and personal care products are the next frontier of healthy living. And now that staying at home is this year’s new normal, I expect this conversation is about to get a whole lot louder.

Needless to say, I’m ready for it. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve always been on the cutting edge when it comes to the health risks posed by everyday products, from paper receipts to conventional produce.

And it’s about time we all got on this same page. Because the health risks from some of these products—many of which we come into contact with every day—are just too stunning to ignore.

Plus, they’re impacting our children’s health just as severely as our own. And the results of one recent study are just the latest example of this preventable tragedy…

One origin of asthma uncovered

This new data comes from the CHILD Cohort Study. And it showed that kids with routine exposure to common cleaning products have a higher risk of developing asthma—the most common chronic disease among children, and the main reason for school absences and hospitalizations in this group.

The study appeared recently in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. And it showed that three-year-olds who had been exposed to heavy use of popular cleaning products between birth and three months faced…

  • A 40 percent higher risk of recurrent wheezing
  • Double the risk of wheeze with allergic immune response
  • A 65 percent higher risk of asthma

For some unexplained reason, the link between household cleaners and breathing problems was stronger among girls. But in all cases, the threat was independent from factors like family history and cigarette smoke exposure.

Previous research on this subject has focused on adults. But if you ask me, it’s about time we looked hard at the risk to infants—especially given how much of their time is spent indoors, and their extreme vulnerability to chemical exposures.

Beware of “fresh” air…

This study looked at more than two dozen household cleaners—including dish and laundry detergents, multipurpose cleaners, disinfectants, polishes, and air fresheners. And they measured exposure levels by days, weeks, and months.

For both recurring wheeze and asthma, risk was highest in homes with the heaviest use of air fresheners (liquid or solid), plug-in deodorizers, dusting sprays, oven cleaners, and antimicrobial hand sanitizers. (Another reason why I urge you to wash your hands with plain old soap and water when you can—pandemic or not.)

Because ultimately, the chemicals in these products can trigger inflammation and do a number on the cells that line your respiratory tract, at any age. And really, I’d say the most frightening part is the sheer number of products that the average home uses.

I understand that using all organic, non-toxic cleaners isn’t always the easiest or cheapest option. (They’re the only products I use in my home, so trust me, I know.) But if you can’t go all in, then at least consider removing scented cleaning products from your home.

Because the fact is, if your house “smells” clean, it’s probably also toxic—and not just to your lungs, either.

Indoors or out, air pollution has ties to everything from diabetes to dementia. I talked more about this subject—including tips on how to defend yourself against this invisible threat—in the February 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The invisible culprit behind diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and more than 200,000 deaths every year”).

Subscribers can find that article and a whole lot more in my archives. So as always, if you haven’t yet, consider signing up today.


“Exposure to cleaning products in first 3 months of life increases risk of childhood asthma.” Science Daily, 02/18/2020. (