Household chemicals, immune function, and allergy: A commentary

Ian Kimber, Raymond Pieters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In recent decades, in the US and in Western and Northern Europe, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of atopic allergic disease. Although that increase may now be slowing, or have already reached a plateau, there remains considerable interest in the factor or factors that may have caused this increased susceptibility to allergy and asthma. Certainly, the changes recorded have been too rapid to implicate a change in the gene pool, and for that reason attention has focused on the possible impact of environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors. Although the hygiene hypothesis proposes that increased susceptibility to allergic sensitization is associated with changes in childhood exposure pathogenic microorganisms, other factors have been considered also. Among these is exposure to chemicals and atmospheric pollutants. There is some evidence that exposure to certain chemicals may elicit or exacerbate respiratory reactions in those who are already sensitized, or who already have existing airway disease. However, a recent article has proposed that exposure to specific household cleaning products may be one factor that is able to affect susceptibility to allergic sensitization. In the light of that article it is timely now to consider again the ability of chemical exposure to influence sensitization to common antigens. © 2013 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-172
    Number of pages3
    JournalJournal of immunotoxicology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


    • Allergic disease
    • Glycol ethers
    • Household chemicals
    • Immune function
    • Propylene glycol
    • Volatile organic compounds


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