Asthma has been recognised as an occupational hazard among cleaning professionals, but nobody had made the connection to occasional use of the chemicals in the family home.
A new study - which recruited 3,500 people from 10 European countries - reckons that up to 15 per cent, or one in seven cases of adult asthma, could be caused by household cleaning sprays.
Even sporadic use of sprays resulted in a 6 per cent increase in asthma. Not surprisingly, the risk increased with usage, and people who used them every other day or so increased their risk by a further 50 per cent.
The worst culprits were cleaning sprays, air fresheners, and furniture and glass cleaners.
(Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2007; 176: 735-74).