Household cleaners and air fresheners could be bad for women's health, new research suggests.
Women who regularly use household cleaners and air fresheners are at double the risk of developing breast cancer than those who never use the products.
The study of more than 1,500 women found that solid slow-release air fresheners and anti-mold products had the biggest effect. Insect repellents, oven and surface cleaners also produced a slight increase.
"Women who reported the highest combined cleaning product use had a doubled risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest reported use," said the study author,
"Use of air fresheners and products for mold and mildew control were associated with increased risk."
Tests in laboratories have shown that some cleaning products, air fresheners and insect repellents have chemicals in them that are linked to causing cancer.
For the latest study, researchers questioned 787 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 721 other women about their cleaning regimes.
They found that overall women who used a combination of cleaning products were up to 110 per cent more likely to have developed breast cancer than those who never touched them.
The biggest effect was with solid air fresheners with those who replaced theirs more than seven times a year twice as likely to have developed beast cancer.
Using mold and mildew removers more than once a week also seemed to double the risk. Insect repellants, oven cleaners and furniture polish also had a slight increase in the risks.
"To our knowledge, this is the first published report on cleaning product use and risk of breast cancer," said the author.
The researchers said that although a link appeared to be made between cancer and the cleaning products more research was needed to be certain.
They found that women with breast cancer who believed that chemicals and pollutants contribute "a lot" to the risk of developing the condition were more likely to report high product usage.
For an artificial chemical-free environment, use natural cleaners around the home. vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda all make excellent natural cleaning products which are also cheaper than commercial alternatives. Mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle for a solution that will clean, disinfect and deodorize most areas of the home. Lemon is a great substance to clean and shine brass and copper, and lemon juice can be mixed with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Baking soda can be used to remove grease and dirt in the same way as other abrasive cleansers, and is effective at neutralizing strong odors.
Research Paper Details:
Brody JG. Everyday Exposures and breast cancer. Environmental health Volume 25, No. 1, 2010.