Disinfectants found in common household products may be altering the microbiome of children, new study finds

Parents only want what’s best for their children, which is why they often go overboard when it comes to cleaning everything that their children may come into contact with. But what if your cleaning products are actually the ones harming your children? A recent study by Canadian researchers found that disinfectants and other common household products can alter the microbiome of children.

Not all bacteria are bad. There are also millions of beneficial bacteria residing in the gut that are involved in maintaining overall health. Countless studies have shown that these good bacteria improve nutrient absorption, immune functions, mental health, heart health, and weight. However, these benefits can only be observed if there is the right balance between the two types of bacteria. Otherwise, pathogenic bacteria will negatively impact a person’s health. Children are especially vulnerable to pathogens because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. This highlights the importance of taking care of their microbiome either by giving them probiotic and prebiotic foods or by reducing their exposure to substances that can compromise their gut bacteria.

In this study, the researchers analyzed the microbiome of 757 babies based on the microbes present in their fecal matter. They also determined how often disinfectants and other household cleaning products were used in their home. Results showed that frequent use of disinfectants significantly altered the gut flora. This was exhibited by the increased levels of Lachnospiraceae bacteria in fecal matter. Moreover, children from homes that frequently use disinfectants also had a higher body mass index when they grew older.

On the contrary, no changes in microbiome composition were observed in children who came from households that used eco-friendly products. They were also less likely to be overweight. These results point toward the possibility that changes in microbiome are responsible for the increased risk of obesity in children who are constantly exposed to harmful disinfectants.

Overall, these results prove that it’s best to be careful about what products you use at home since these could lead to serious health consequences. (Related: Many cleaning products, especially those billed as “antibacterial,” contain toxic chemicals that cause physical damage.)

Natural cleaning products

If you want to reduce your family’s exposure to harmful disinfectants, here are some natural cleaning products that you can use instead:

  • White vinegar — White vinegar, which is made from acetic acid and water, is a powerful cleaning agent that works against grease, mildew, stains, and odors. Its acidic nature also kills surface bacteria that can cause various diseases.
  • Lemon — Lemons contain citric acid, which is great against alkaline stains like soap scum and bacteria. It might not be as effective as white vinegar in killing bacteria but if you prefer something that smells good and fresh then lemons may be better for you. Additionally, lemons are great if you want to make your metalware shine again.
  • Hydrogen peroxide — This natural cleaning agent is commonly used for treating wounds because of its antibacterial properties. It can be used as a potent cleaning agent that kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls. Furthermore, it can kill molds and remove stains on white clothes. It’s not great for colored clothing since it can bleach the colorful fabric.
  • Vodka — Put that vodka to good use by using it as a cleaning agent. Like vinegar, vodka is also effective against grease, stains, and mildew. One benefit of using this over the former is that it doesn’t leave a sour odor that can turn away people with sensitive noses. It also works against mold and even gives metal fixtures their shine back. To maximize the antibacterial potential of vodka, make sure to get the strongest one or at least get some that have 40 to 60 percent alcohol.

For more articles about the different health problems that harmful household products cause, visit Products.news.

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