A recently published University of Alberta study found that children reared on a farm have less than half the risk of developing asthma as children who were reared by urban clean freak mothers.
Farm children ages 1 to 5 showed a stronger protective effect against asthma than those aged 6 to 11 years, probably due to earlier exposure to the farm environment.
Exposure to "endotoxins" from animal viruses and manure and avoidance of urban environment pollution early in life may very well reduce the risk for development of asthma.
European researchers also say that exposure to household cleaning sprays and air fresheners as little as once a week increases the risk of developing asthma.
Another study published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggests that the relative risk rates of developing childhood or adult asthma in relation to exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15 percent, or one in seven of asthma cases.
This report also suggests that children with allergic sensitizations in economically developed countries are far more likely to develop asthma than similarly sensitized children in poorer countries.
The researchers speculated that some factors that protect children with allergic sensitization from developing asthma are less present in affluent settings, which might not provide the commensal bacteria necessary for tolerance and immune function development.
So much for what my former husband's maiden Aunt Lillian always said about the importance of maintaining an absolutely spotless house for my children's health!