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Environ Health Toxicol. 2014 Nov 21;29:e2014017. doi: 10.5620/eht.e2014017. eCollection 2014.

Association between exposure to antimicrobial household products and allergic symptoms.

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Department of Environmental Health Research, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul, Korea ; Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.
Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Environmental Health Research, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



Antimicrobial chemicals are used in a variety of household and personal care products. Exposure to antimicrobial household products has been hypothesized to lead to allergic diseases in children.


We investigated antimicrobial household product exposure and allergic symptoms in Korean children. An antimicrobial exposure (AE) score was derived. To examine the symptoms of allergic diseases (current wheeze, current rhinitis, and current eczema) in the past 12 months, we used a questionnaire based on the core module of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children. Complete data for the analysis were available for 25,805 of the 35,590 (72.5%) children.


The prevalence of current allergic diseases was as follows: wheeze, 5.6%; allergic rhinitis, 32.6%; and eczema, 17.7%. The mean (standard deviation) AE score was 14.3 (9.3) (range: 0-40). Compared with subjects with a low AE score (reference), subjects with a high AE score (fourth quartile) were more likely to have symptoms of wheezing and allergic rhinitis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] for wheezing 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.45, p for trend=0.24; aOR for allergic rhinitis 1.30, 95% CI, 1.20-1.40, p<0.01).


These findings suggest that frequent use of antimicrobial household products was associated with current wheeze and current allergic rhinitis.


Allergic diseases; Allergic rhinitis; Antimicrobial; Asthma; Children; Triclosan

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