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Monday, February 22, 2010

Childhood Asthma Is Skyrocketing!

It is so scary to read the statistics on our health today, and it is especially scary to read about our children's health and how greatly it is declining. Children are supposed to be vibrant, energetic and healthy. Unfortunately, that is not the case for a lot of our little ones anymore. Check this stat out:

-The prevalence of childhood asthma increased 74% between
1980 and 1994 and has continued to increase in the years since.

Now why is that?? Let's dig right in and try to find the reason.

Dr. Stephen D. Chaney, Full Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Nutrition at
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill says, "The causes of this rapid increase in asthma prevalence are likely to be complex, but evidence has accumulated in recent years that some of the increase may be caused by early exposure to toxic chemical fumes in the home."

Why are our homes so much more toxic?

Well, we as consumers keep demanding cleaners that work better and are easy to use (Don't bother with messy liquids and pastes - just spray it on). Manufacturers have been willing to oblige by adding ever more exotic chemicals to household cleaners and putting them in aerosol spray cans.

Did you know that the air in our homes is 5 to 10 times more toxic than the air outside? In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the air inside our homes is often more polluted than in Los Angeles or New York on a smoggy day. Sounds like, among other things, we need to open our windows!

Now, let's get back to childhood asthma. A number of studies have pointed to an association between these toxic household fumes and childhood asthma, but I'd like to focus on one particularly good study on this topic that was published recently in the European Respiratory Journal (31: 54-57, 2008). Now, hold on to your hats, because I am going to give you some details of this study.

This study measured the household chemical exposure of 7,162 pregnant women in England and looked at the incidence of asthma in their children at age 8.5 years.

A maternal composite household chemical exposure (CHCE) score was derived by measuring the pregnant mother's exposure to a number of common household products known to contain toxic chemicals.

The household products used most frequently were disinfectants(87.4%), bleach(84.8%), aerosols(71.7%), air fresheners(68%), window cleaners(60.5%), carpet cleaners(35.3%) and pesticides/insecticides(21.2%). (For information on the toxic chemicals in these and other common household products visit: )

Asthma was quantified based on persistent wheezing (reported by the parents) and several lung function tests that were administered at age 8.5 years.

To make sure that the asthma was not caused by simple allergies the children were also given a skin pricktest against a panel of 6 common childhood allergens (house dust mites, cats, mixed grass, mixed nuts, peanuts and milk). The study also controlled for confounding variables such as exposure to tobacco smoke, damp housing, pets in the home and maternal history of asthma.

The results of this study are very clear.

Higher household chemical exposure during pregnancy was associated with a 41% increase in childhood asthma in children with no known allergies.

What does that mean to you and me? It means that it is not enough to select household products that are safe for the environment. We also need to select products that we use in our homes on the basis of their safety for us and our family - not just on the basis of cost and convenience.

Thankfully, I had this mother's instinct when I was pregnant to get rid of my bad cleaners and replace them. I researched to find the safest ones and came upon Shaklee, the company that brought us one of the very first biodegradable cleaners and the very first company in the world to be certified as climate neutral. They make a "Get Clean" line of household cleaners that are not only biodegradable, but also contain no toxic fumes that could be harmful for your health.
Check them out here:, for your own and your family's health!

I know this is some scary information that may have given you a sick feeling in your stomach, but you can make a difference! Little changes like switching out your cleaners can have a huge impact in your life and the life of others as you share what you have done!


  1. Good sharing Cara. You elaborate more in your post. How scary it is to read about the toxicity of household cleaning products. What a nice family photo you have at the bottom of your blog.

  2. Thanks, Viviana! I know you appreciate nontoxic cleaners as much as I do, and I hope to hear more from you in the future!


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