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Air Fresheners, Aerosols Hurts Moms and Their Babies

If you're using air fresheners or aerosol sprays to make your house smell more appealing especially with a newborn in the house, think twice if you want to protect the health of your growing family. UK researchers have found air fresheners and aerosols can cause headaches and depression in mothers and diarrhea and earaches in babies.

The big risk for moms and their babies discovered in the study: The more frequently mothers use aerosols, it seems, the more likely they and their babies will have problems because both spend about 80 percent of their time at home.

The study -- monitoring 14,000 children even before their birth -- focused on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be found in solvents, floor adhesives, paint, furnishings and cleaning products. What did researchers find?

  • The daily use of air fresheners (sticks, sprays and aerosols) caused incidences of diarrhea to jump by almost a third over homes that used them just once a week.
  • Daily aerosol use (polish, deodorant, hair sprays) resulted in about a third more health problems for babies and their mothers.
  • Mothers were 26 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 10 percent more likely to have headaches.

Medical News Today October 19, 2004

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