'Cancer risk' for houseproud women
Houseproud women who like to keep their homes clean and fragrant may be at greater risk of breast cancer, research suggests.
Scientists found significant links between the disease and women's use of cleaning products, air fresheners and mould removers.
General use of cleaners doubled the risk of breast cancer in women who used them the most, experts found.
Among the different kinds of products, air fresheners and mould and mildew removers had the strongest association.
In contrast, mothballs, pesticides and insect repellents had little impact on breast cancer risk.
US researchers conducted telephone interviews with 787 women aged 60 to 80 years old in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with breast cancer and 721 healthy women also in that age range.
The women were asked about their use of cleaning products and pesticides and split into four groups ranging between high and low users. Cancer rates for the different groups were then compared.
Study leader Dr Julia Brody, from the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, said: "Women who reported the highest combined cleaning product use had a doubled risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest reported use.
"Use of air fresheners and products for mould and mildew control were associated with increased risk. To our knowledge, this is the first published report on cleaning product use and risk of breast cancer."
The research was published in the online journal Environmental Health on Tuesday.