Household ‘air pollution’ from hair spray and fragrances linked to lung problems

Household ‘air pollution’ from hair spray and fragrances linked to lung problems

Children with existing lung-related conditions could be put at additional risk due to indoor pollution created by a list of everyday consumer products, including a number of personal care items.

The study, conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) looked into the issue of ‘indoor air pollution’, testing 70 households in India where there was at least one child said to be suffering from either asthma or similar allergy-related conditions such as hay fever.

The study, which was authored by Raj Kumar, MD, was presented at the ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting, which was held in Atlanta last week.

The authors of the study say they found that children who were exposed to higher levels of indoor pollutants demonstrated increased leaves of asthma and allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.

Higher levels of pollutants in households with allergies

The study took into consideration a range of household pollutants, including secondhand smoke, kerosene and biomass fuel, together with a wide spectrum of volatile compounds from various everyday household products.

After measuring the levels of pollution in the households in question, the researchers found that there were higher levels of these pollutants, and specifically volatile compounds, which can be derived from a range of cosmetics, personal care and household products in the households where children suffered from allergies and lung conditions.

In recent years a growing body of evidence has pointed to the fact that fragrances and other highly volatile personal care products such as deodorants and hairsprays may exacerbate allergies and lung related conditions.

But are such allergies psychosomatic?

However, back in July of this year, a research team released findings that suggested some allergic reactions relating to volatile compounds may be psychosomatic.

The research team, from the Monell Chemical Senses Center , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says its recent study showed that simply believing an odor is harmful can increase airway inflammation in asthmatics for up to 24 hours after exposure.

“Asthmatics often are anxious about scents and fragrances. When we expect that an odor is harmful, our bodies react as if that odor is indeed harmful," said study lead author Cristina Jaén, PhD, a Monell physiologist.

"Both patients and care providers need to understand how expectations about odors can influence symptoms of the disease."

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