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The use of household cleaning products during pregnancy and lower respiratory tract infections and wheezing during early life



To evaluate the effects of household use of cleaning products during pregnancy on infant wheezing and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI).


In four prospective Spanish birth cohorts (n = 2,292), pregnant women reported the use of household cleaning products. When infants were 12–18 months old, current cleaning product use and infant’s wheezing and LRTI were reported. Cohort-specific associations between the use of specific products and respiratory outcomes were evaluated using multivariable regression analyses and estimates were combined using random-effects meta-analyses.


The period prevalence of LRTI was higher when sprays (combined odds ratio (OR) = 1.29; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.04–1.59) or air fresheners (OR = 1.29; CI 1.03–1.63) were used during pregnancy. The odds of wheezing increased with spray (OR = 1.37; CI 1.10–1.69) and solvent (OR = 1.30; CI 1.03–1.62) use. The associations between spray and air freshener use during pregnancy and both outcomes remained apparent when these products were not used after pregnancy. Nevertheless, the estimates were higher when post-natal exposure was included.


The use of cleaning sprays, air fresheners and solvents during pregnancy may increase the risk of wheezing and infections in the offspring.

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This study was funded by grants from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Red INMA G03/176, CB06/02/0041, FIS-FEDER 03/1615, 04/1509, 04/1112, 04/1931, 05/1079, 05/1052, 06/1213, 07/0314 and 09/02647), the Conselleria de Sanitat Generalitat Valenciana, the Spanish Ministry of Health (FIS-PI041436, FIS- PI081151, FISS-PI042018, FISS-PI09/02311, FIS-PI06/0867 and FIS-PS09/00090), the Generalitat de Catalunya-CIRIT 1999SGR 00241, Obra Social Cajastur, Universidad de Oviedo, Department of Health of the Basque Government (2005111093 and 2009111069), Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa (DFG06/004 and DFG08/001), and Fundación Roger Torné. We acknowledge all the participants in the INMA project for their generous collaboration. A full roster of the INMA Project Investigators can be found at

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Correspondence to Lidia Casas.

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This study was conducted on behalf of the INMA Project.

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Casas, L., Zock, J.P., Carsin, A.E. et al. The use of household cleaning products during pregnancy and lower respiratory tract infections and wheezing during early life. Int J Public Health 58, 757–764 (2013).

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  • Household products
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Wheezing
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal studies