Kids Exposed To Bleach May Experience Infections

Parents often use bleach heavily in the hope that the chemical will disinfect surfaces from bacteria that can lead to illnesses within their family and especially among their children.

However, according to a study, while bleach kills germs, it may make children more vulnerable to flu, tonsillitis and other infections.

Researchers found the usage of bleach within the home and the number of infections, particularly respiratory ones. The conclusion was that the passive exposure to the chemical led to a 20 percent rise in chances of getting the flu last year.

A 35 percent increase in the risk of recurrent tonsillitis has also been connected to the chemical, which has made experts tag the usage of bleach in homes a public health concern.


Th study was published in the journal, Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

The Study:

  • Examined over 9,000 children
  • Ages 6-12 
  • 19 schools in the Netherlands, 17 schools in Finland, and 18 schools in Barcelona, Spain

They measured their levels of exposure to bleach, then attempted to test the negative impact it had on their health. Parents were asked to complete questions about the frequency of their children’s flu, tonsilitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, otitis, and pneumonia during the past 12 months.

Cleaning Supplies Health Effects

Bleach and other cleaning products might damage the lining of lung cells, causing inflammation and making it easier for infections to occur, the authors argue. Of course, it's been known for some time that common household cleaning products aren't meant to be inhaled or ingested; just breathing in your typical Lysol spray can make you feel dizzy or nauseous. But the study reinforces the importance of being aware of the adverse side effects of bleach and other household items.

The American Lung Association suggests sticking to soap and warm water as opposed to bleach or ammonia, as it may often do the trick just as well. For scrubbing floors or sinks, use baking soda to really get the gritty dirt out of the cracks. And vinegar mixed with water is a good glass cleaner.