Disinfectants are widely used in hospitals and other medical facilities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has actually led to an increase in their use in these facilities, but also more broadly by the general population. But a new study conducted by researchers at the Yamanashi School of Medicine urges people not to rush these products because of their harmful effects seen in pregnant women. Published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, it claims that the use of disinfectants by this demographic in an occupational setting may be a risk factor for asthma and eczema in their future children. The team started from the observation that exposure to disinfectants in the workplace had already been linked to asthma and dermatitis in exposed workers.
But until now” Few studies have examined the effects of disinfectant use during pregnancy and later development of allergic diseases in children. “, she says. This work involved using data from 78,915 mother-child pairs recruited between January 2011 and March 2014 to determine whether maternal exposure to disinfectants in the workplace was associated with an increased risk of being diagnosed with allergic The team found that 3-year-old children were more likely to develop asthma or eczema if their mothers used disinfectant one to six times a week compared to children whose mothers did not use disinfectant Above all, she specifies that there is an undeniable “dependency relationship”.
An impact on microbiota or on immunity… avenues to explore
Children whose mothers used disinfectants daily were 26% more likely to be diagnosed with asthma and 29% more likely to develop eczema than children whose mothers were not exposed to disinfectants at work. Fortunately, no significant association has been found between the use of disinfectants and the occurrence of any other type of food allergy. Although the study was observational and therefore could not determine the exact mechanism, the researchers still believe that these ” The results indicate that exposure to disinfectants during pregnancy has an effect on allergies in offspring, whether or not the mother returns to work at 1 year of age, and suggest an effect from exposure alone during pregnancy there. »
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These results therefore need to be confirmed by other studies, but this first discovery will at least have the merit, from a public health perspective, of sparking debate on the importance of limiting prenatal exposure to disinfectants to prevent allergy risks in children. And all the more taking into account the increased use of disinfectants to prevent new coronavirus infections. There are many possible avenues to explore, starting with the microbiota: disinfectants would affect the gut and skin flora of the mother and then the child. The researchers also hypothesize immune mediation, that is, exposure to certain chemical compounds during pregnancy has an impact on the fetus’s immune response.
The risk can also occur after the children are born during postnatal exposure: the children have inhaled or touched disinfectant molecules on their mother’s skin. Another possibility is ” that these mothers are likely to be more medically informed and have sought medical care for their children. ‘ say the researchers. Finally, they conclude on the possible idea that ” People in jobs that use disinfectants are exposed to other chemicals that may have contributed to the current outcome. In addition, other factors have been linked to the development of asthma or eczema in children, such as prenatal exposure to smoking, chemicals, mold and air pollutants.