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Domestic use of hypochlorite bleach, atopic sensitization, and respiratory symptoms in adults.

Journal article
Authors Jan-Paul Zock
Estel Plana
Josep M Antó
Geza Benke
Paul D Blanc
Aurelia Carosso
Anna Dahlman-Höglund
Joachim Heinrich
Deborah Jarvis
Hans Kromhout
Linnea Lillienberg
Maria C Mirabelli
Dan Norbäck
Mario Olivieri
Michela Ponzio
Katja Radon
Argo Soon
Marc van Sprundel
Jordi Sunyer
Cecilie Svanes
Kjell Torén
Giuseppe Verlato
Simona Villani
Manolis Kogevinas
Published in The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Volume 124
Issue 4
Pages 731-738.e1
ISSN 1097-6825
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Pages 731-738.e1
Language en
Subject categories Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


BACKGROUND: Professional use of hypochlorite (bleach) has been associated with respiratory symptoms. Bleach is capable of inactivating allergens, and there are indications that its domestic use may reduce the risk of allergies in children. OBJECTIVE: To study the associations between household use of bleach and atopic sensitization, allergic diseases, and respiratory health status in adults. METHODS: We identified 3626 participants of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II in 10 countries who did the cleaning in their homes and for whom data on specific serum IgE to 4 environmental allergens were available. Frequency of bleach use and information on respiratory symptoms were obtained in face-to-face interviews. House dust mite and cat allergens in mattress dust were measured in a subsample. Associations between the frequency of bleach use and health outcomes were evaluated by using multivariable mixed logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: The use of bleach was associated with less atopic sensitization (odds ratio [OR], 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.89). This association was apparent for specific IgE to both indoor (cat) and outdoor (grass) allergens, and was consistent in various subgroups, including those without any history of respiratory problems (OR, 0.85). Dose-response relationships (P < .05) were apparent for the frequency of bleach use and sensitization rates. Lower respiratory tract symptoms, but not allergic symptoms, were more prevalent among those using bleach 4 or more days per week (OR, 1.24-1.49). The use of bleach was not associated with indoor allergen concentrations. CONCLUSION: People who clean their homes with hypochlorite bleach are less likely to be atopic but more likely to have respiratory symptoms.

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