Frequent use of household cleaning products is associated with rhinitis in Chinese children

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Sep;138(3):754-760.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.03.038. Epub 2016 May 6.


Background: Despite the popular use of household cleaning products worldwide, there is no published study investigating the health effects of these products on rhinitis in children.

Objective: We sought to investigate the household use of cleaning products and rhinitis patterns in Chinese children.

Methods: A total of 2299 children were recruited from 21 primary schools with wide geographic coverage in Hong Kong. Self-administered questionnaires were completed by parents/guardians to collect detailed information on respiratory symptoms and household use of 14 types of chemical cleaning products, as well as clean water. Students were categorized into 4 mutually exclusive rhinitis patterns (never, occasional, frequent, and persistent). The total chemical burden (TCB) score was used as the exposure indicator by calculating the total time of exposure to the 14 cleaning products. Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between rhinitis patterns and the use of household cleaning products.

Results: Every 10-unit increment of TCB score was associated with an increase in the odds of occasional (odds ratio [OR], 1.21; 95% CI, 1.05-1.41), frequent (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.13-1.60), and persistent (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.01-1.56) rhinitis after adjustment for a wide range of potential confounders. Compared with the children within the lowest tertile of TCB scores, the adjusted ORs of occasional, frequent, and persistent rhinitis in children within the highest tertile were 1.29 (95% CI, 1.01-1.65), 1.97 (95% CI, 1.40-2.76), and 1.67 (95% CI, 1.10-2.54), respectively.

Conclusion: Frequent use of chemical cleaning products at home is associated with an increase in the odds of rhinitis in Chinese primary school children.

Keywords: Rhinitis; household cleaning products; school-age children.

MeSH terms

  • Asians
  • Child
  • Detergents*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Detergents