Tags: household | chemical | asthma

Study: Household Chemicals Promote Asthma

Monday, 10 September 2012 11:22 AM

Children exposed to two common household chemicals, found in many plastics and personal care products, have a significantly higher risk of asthma-related airway inflammation, Harvard researchers have found.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, suggest the phthalate chemicals – known as DEP (diethyl phthalate) and BBzP (butylbenzyl phthalate) – may be factors in the rise in the number of childhood asthma cases in the U.S. in recent decades.
"While many factors contribute to childhood asthma, our study shows that exposure to phthalates may play a significant role," said Allan Just, who led the study by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health.
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For the study, researchers tracked 244 New York children aged 5 to 9 years. Tests found that all had detectable levels of the two phthalates in their urine, and those with higher concentrations had greater levels of airway inflammation – as measured by exhaled nitric oxide, a biomarker for the lung condition.
"Many asthma patients only have asthma exacerbations a few times a year, making it difficult to discern short-term associations between environmental exposures and the disease," said co-researcher Matthew Perzanowski. "To solve this problem, we used nitric oxide, which has been shown to be a reliable marker of airway inflammation in response to known asthma triggers like vehicle emissions."
Phthalates are used in a wide variety of consumer products, including plastics, vinyl flooring, and personal care items. Past studies have tied phthalates to endocrine system problems, eczema, neurobehavioral difficulties, and reproductive effects.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
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Children exposed to two common household chemicals have a greater risk of asthma-related problems.
Monday, 10 September 2012 11:22 AM
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