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Rising allergies are not caused by clean homes or overdoing hygiene. Released from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: Tuesday 18 May 2004

A new in-depth report published today concludes there is no justification for the idea that current standards of home cleaning and home hygiene are a factor in the rise in allergies. The report represents the first detailed review by infectious disease and hygiene specialists of the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ - the idea that having fewer childhood infections, because of cleaner homes and smaller families, may be responsible for more children developing allergies and asthma. The report finds that there is significant evidence that changing exposure to microbes may indeed be a factor in the rise in allergies. But it finds no evidence that cleaning habits prevalent today are to blame and it firmly dispels the notion that we are living in super-clean, germ-free homes. ‘The hygiene hypothesis and its implications for hygiene’ compiled for the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH), evaluates the various medical, public health, and environmental and lifestyle changes that might have altered our exposure to microbes, and outlines the various other theories put forward to explain the rise in allergies.

Author: London School of Hygiene, Tropical Medicine

Download File: hygiene_hypothesis_180404.doc

Published: 18/05/2004

Publication Type: Press release

Publisher: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine