Rate of humidifier and humidifier disinfectant usage in Korean children: A nationwide epidemiologic study

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In South Korea, a cluster of humidifier disinfectant-induced lung injury (HDLI) cases developed between 2006 and 2011. There are no existing reports regarding the rate of humidifier disinfectant (HD) usage in the general population of Korean children. The purpose of this study was to investigate the rate of humidifier and HD usage in the general population of Korean children. This is a general population-based birth cohort multicenter study, Panel Study of Korean Children (PSKC) from 2008, a humidifier and HD-related questionnaire administered to 1577 subjects (809 male, 768 female) in 2015 (n=1577). The questionnaire consisted of four categories (humidifier usage, HD usage, exposure duration, and type of HD brands). A total of 75.6% (1192/1577) had used a humidifier, and the rate of HD usage was found to be 31.1% (409/1316). Polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG), used as a disinfectant, was found to have the highest usage rate (62.0%). HD was used for less than 3 months of the entire lifetime of most of the subjects. In conclusion, approximately 30% of young Korean children were exposed to HD. PHMG-containing HD was the most commonly used. These results suggest that a nationwide epidemiologic investigation is needed urgently, and children exposed to HD should be investigated regarding their status of lung injury, including a pulmonary function test. Moreover, a long-term follow-up period may be required to evaluate HD usage-associated lung injury.

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