A study finds that exposure to cleaning bleach at home or school may increase a child’s risk of developing respiratory infections.

Infection rates were highest among children exposed to bleach compared with children who were not exposed.

Risk for pneumonia was not significantly associated with bleach exposure in any country.

Analysis that included the use of bleach at school did not change risk rates, however, bleach use for school cleaning in the Netherlands was associated with a higher risk for any recurrent infection (RRR = 1.62; 95% CI, 1.01-2.62).

“In line with previous studies, our study suggests that passive exposure to cleaning bleach in the home may have adverse effects on school-age children’s health. However, the evidence is inconsistent across countries, the health effects are rather modest, and the exposure and health assessment and cross-sectional design are a limitation, not only in our study but previous studies,” Casas and colleagues concluded.

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