Disinfectant use during pregnancy has been connected to asthma and eczema in children
According to a study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, pregnant women who use disinfectants may be more likely to have asthma and eczema in their children.
COVID-19 has led to a rise in the use of disinfectants both in medical settings and more widely, including by the general public. Disinfectants are commonly used in hospitals and other medical facilities.
Workplace disinfectant exposure has previously been associated with asthma and dermatitis in employees, but little research has looked at the impact of disinfectant use during pregnancy on the development of allergic illness in children.
The researchers looked at data from 78,911 mother-child pairs who took part in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study to see if mothers’ exposure to disinfectants at work was linked to an increased chance of their children being diagnosed with allergy disorders when they were three years old.
When compared to children whose moms never used disinfectants, the risks of their children getting asthma or eczema were significantly higher if their mothers used disinfectants one to six times a week.
There was a link between prenatal disinfectant exposure and the chances that children would get these allergic conditions. Children of mothers who were exposed to disinfectants every day had 26% more chances of getting asthma and 29% more chances of getting eczema than children of mothers who were never exposed to disinfectants.
There was no evidence of a link between disinfectant use and food allergies.
Because this is an observational study, it is impossible to determine the cause. The authors also pointed out certain caveats, such as the fact that the information on disinfectant use by moms was self-reported and no specific disinfectants were identified. Mothers also reported diagnoses of allergy disorders in their children.
“Our data demonstrate that exposure [to disinfectants] during pregnancy has an effect on allergies in children regardless of whether the mother goes to work when the child is one year old, and suggests that exposure during pregnancy alone has an effect,” the authors conclude.
Given the present increased usage of disinfectants to prevent new coronavirus infections, it is of critical public health concern to evaluate whether prenatal disinfectant exposure is a risk for the development of allergy disorders.
The authors came up with a lot of ways that mothers who were exposed to disinfectants while pregnant could raise their child’s risk of allergies.
There are many ways disinfectants can affect a mother’s gut and skin microbes, as well as her child. These include microbiome-mediated, immune-mediated, postnatal exposure, and bias.
Mothers who use medical disinfectants often are more likely to be medically knowledgeable and have better access to healthcare, so they are more likely to have children who are exposed to disinfectants.