Are Aerosol Sprays Harmful?
study, reported in New Scientist magazine, said that "caution should be
advised" on the use of aerosols or air fresheners more than once a
The team, based at Bristol
say they have evidence linking the chemicals found in many sprays to
headaches and depression in mothers, and to ear infections and
diarrhoea in babies.
In a survey
of 14,000 pregnant women, those who used aerosols and air fresheners
most days suffered a quarter more headaches than those who used them
less than once a week.
There was a increase of 19%
in postnatal depression associated with women who frequently used air
aerosols contain volatile organic compounds The study also
that babies under six months old exposed on most days to air fresheners
had 30% more ear infections than those exposed less than once a
Babies frequently exposed to
aerosols were one-fifth more likely to suffer from diarrhoea.
Professor Jean Golding, of
Bristol University's Division of Child
Health, said it was possible, for example, that air fresheners might be
used more frequently in homes in which babies were prone to diarrhoea,
simply to mask the smell.
But she said there was no easy explanation for the increase in
headaches and ear infections, and that further research was
She said: "A lot of people
are unaware that in using air fresheners, you are filling the air with
a lot of chemicals.
"The word 'air
freshener' sounds like you are purifying things, when in fact you are
not doing anything of the sort."
She said the chemicals present
in many aerosols, such as xylene,
ketones and aldehydes, had been associated with so-called "sick
"What we might
be looking at here is the home equivalent," said Professor
There is no firm evidence of
the way in which these chemicals, in low
doses, might cause problems, although experiments on mice suggest that
the chemicals in air fresheners may weaken the body's defences by
making the skin more permeable.
Britain is the
biggest producer and user of aerosols in Europe, with the average
household buying 36 cans a year.
More on Spray Cans
The use of aerosol sprays by
pregnant mothers is to be discouraged: researchers at the University of
Bristol England found a 25 percent increase in headaches among pregnant
mothers who used them daily -- over those who use them once a week or
less. Babies had 30 percent more ear infections and 22 percent more
diarrhoea in homes where aerosol sprays were used-- Davie
UPDATE:- Aerosol cleaners used in the home
may cause asthma
use of home cleaning products in the form of aerosols, at least once a
week, is related to the appearance of respiratory difficulties and
asthma in adults. This association becomes stronger when the use of
these aerosol products (including glass cleaners, furniture cleaners
and air fresheners) is increased to four or more times a week. On the
other hand, non-aerosol cleaning products have not demonstrated a
connection with asthma. These are the main results from a multicentre,
multinational study conducted by various research teams, including the
Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL- Centre de
Recerca en Epidemiologia Ambiental) and the Municipal Institute of
Medical Research (IMIM- Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica-
Hospital del Mar.....
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not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the
which bringeth peace. -- Helen Keller