Household Cleaners Are Linked To Weight Gain In Children, Latest Study Says


A new University of Alberta study warns that the frequent use of disinfectant to keep our homes clean can trigger weight gain and even obesity in children.

Anita Kozyrskyj, a U of A pediatrics professor and lead on the investigation into how alteration of infant gut microbiome impact health says that the results have shown that infants who are living in households where disinfectants are used at least twice a week are likely to have higher levels of bacteria called Lachnospiraceae at three to four months of age.

The results showed that “those same children had a higher body mass index (BMI) than children who were not exposed to the frequent home use of disinfectants as infants.”

She continued and explained that “Our ‘mediation’ statistical analysis suggests that a gut microbiome enriched with Lachnospiraceae early in infancy was likely directly responsible for children becoming overweight or obese.”

The study examined the exposure to three categories of household cleaners on the infant gut microbiome: disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products.

The study’s results

The results did not show any relationship between detergents and gut microbiome change or obesity risk that was independent of disinfectant usage. It’s really important to distinguish detergents from disinfectants since their usage is highly correlated.

More than 80% of households use cleaners with disinfectants on a weekly basis and more often and infant exposure is dangerous.

“Based on our study’s finding, we recommend against the frequent use of disinfectant cleaners in households with infants and suggest that parents consider alternative cleaning products.”

The results of the study showed that infants in households with high use of environmentally friendly cleansers had decreased odds of becoming overweight or obese.

On the other hand, it seems that this was not correlated with their gut microbiome as an infant.

“Infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of different types of gut microbes, such as Enterobacteriaceae. However, we found no evidence that these specific gut microbiome differences were associated with the reduced obesity risk,” according to AllerGen trainee Mon Tun, a Ph.D. candidate at the U of A and author of the study.

Closing words 

The essential conclusion worth noting after the study is that adults can help protect infant gut microbiome and cut the risk of weight gain and obesity by ditching disinfectant agents in household cleaning regimes.


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