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

Int J Public Health. 2013 Oct;58(5):757-64. doi: 10.1007/s00038-012-0417-2. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


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

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

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

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Detergents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Household Work
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Sounds*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology


  • Detergents