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Yet another reason to procrastinate about house cleaning. A new study from Spain shows that using household cleaning sprays and air fresheners as little as once a week can raise the risk of developing asthma in adults, reports the American Thoracic Society. The risk increased with frequency of cleaning and number of different sprays used, but on average was about 30 to 50 percent higher in people regularly exposed to cleaning sprays than in others. Air fresheners, furniture cleaners, and glass-cleaners, had a particularly nasty effect. Sprays have been associated with increased asthma in cleaning professionals, but not amateurs. Until now. Good enough reason to retire my spray gun. Or get a respirator.
Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, "The Fragile Edge," and other writings, here.