Objectives We scrutinised the association of private use of household sprays and disinfectants with asthma incidence in young adults in the transition from school to working life.
Methods Between 2007 and 2009,2051 young adults aged 19–24 years living in two major German cities took part in the Study on Occupational Allergy Risks II. Self-reported exposure to household sprays and disinfectants was characterised according to a composite score for frequency of use as no use (score=0), low use (score between 1 and the median), medium use (score between the median and the 90th percentile) and high use (score above the 90th percentile). Two outcome variables (current asthma and current wheezing) with four mutually exclusive categories (never, incident, persistent and remittent) were used for the risk analyses. Multinomial logistic regression models examined the association between the frequency of using household sprays and disinfectants with asthma and wheezing adjusting for potential confounders.
Results Compared with no use, high use of disinfectants was associated with a more than twofold increased odds of incident asthma (OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.14 to 6.83). In addition, low/medium use of disinfectants was associated with remittent asthma (OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.29 to 4.47). The evidence for an association between high usage of household sprays and asthma incidence was weak (OR 2.79, 95% CI 0.84 to 9.20).
Conclusion Our results support the hypothesis of an association between the use of cleaning products and elevated risks for asthma and wheezing in young adults at the start of working life.
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Contributors TW was primarily responsible for data analysis and drafting the manuscript. CV, JG, KR and SH are principle investigators of SOLAR (Study on OccupationalAllergy Risks) being in charge of the design, coordination and conduct of the study. DN, EvM and JG contributed to the planning and conception of the study. IM, SA-K, SL, TL and VW were involved in planning and conducting the statistical analysis and drafting the paper. All authors critically appraised and approved the final manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Ethical Committee of the Medical Faculty of the University of Dresden (Dresden, Germany), the Ethical Committee of the Bavarian Chamber of Physicians (Munich, Germany) and by the Ethical Committee of the University of Ulm (Ulm, Germany).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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