Many common household cleaning products should carry a warning that they increase the risk for asthma and contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to a research project funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The researchers found evidence that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a wide range of household products — such as paints, varnishes and wax, and many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products — increase the risk for asthma and thus should have labeling that reflects this risk and warns people to ventilate their homes while using these products. Concentrations of VOCs, which are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, are consistently up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors, according to a press release.

The researchers reviewed 12 studies that have been published since 1990 to evaluate the relationship between increased indoor particulates (PM2.5 and PM10) and VOCs and risk for asthma among adults.

The results showed inconclusive evidence on the association between indoor PM2.5 and asthma.

However, the study provided collective evidence that the composition of many VOCs in household products increases the risk for asthma for adults, especially aromatic and aliphatic compounds, according to the researchers.

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