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Asthma, and It’s Link to Conventional Cleaning Products

Speaking as someone who suffered from severe cases of asthma growing up, I can tell you that having an asthma attack is a horrible feeling. With the extreme chest tightness and discomfort, constant coughing, and sensation of breathing through a thin straw, it can be a scary time for child and parent alike. Mold, mildew and dust are all linked to asthma, but now, some household cleaning products may be linked to the disease as well.

Many of the ingredients in conventional cleaning supplies can cause asthma in previously healthy people according to the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC). Some examples of the chemicals used which can cause asthma include a class of surfactants called ethanolamines (like monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine) and a class of antibacterial agents known as quaternary ammonium compounds (like benzalkonium chloride, or alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride). Also, fragrances in the cleaning products are known to be allergens and can cause asthma as well. Conventional cleaning products can also cause asthma indirectly, by releasing volatile organic compounds that form ozone when in the presence of other air contaminants made up of nitrogen and oxygen. Ozone is the main component of smog that triggers asthma.