A 20-year study by the University of Bergen in Norway has found that using cleaning products can be as harmful as smoking twenty cigarettes a day… which is not good news if you work as a professional cleaner OR if you do your own cleaning at home.
The European Community Respiratory Health Survey study investigated the long-term respiratory health effects of using cleaning products at home and at work. It compared lung function decline and airway obstruction in 6,230 men and women who clean at home, who work as occupational cleaners or who do not carry out cleaning tasks, in 22 global locations. The participants had their lung function measured and answered questions about often they used cleaning products, and the type they used, over a twenty-year period.
The results showed that women responsible for cleaning at home or professionally suffered accelerated lung function decline compared with women who were not responsible for cleaning. The findings suggest that cleaning tasks can lead to long term exposure to chemical agents that have potentially harmful effects on the respiratory system and cardiovascular markers. This can cause long term low-grade inflammation, which accelerates lung function decline and chronic airways obstruction.
In fact, the study showed that 10 – 20 years of cleaning can be as damaging as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for the same amount of time.
This is clearly significant and detrimental to women’s long-term respiratory health. Interestingly, the same tendency was not observed in the men, although the reasons for this are currently unclear.
The study shows an urgent need to reduce and prevent harmful exposure to the airways from cleaning activities – as well as the need to further investigate the long-term consequences of cleaning agents on respiratory health.
But in the meantime, when choosing cleaning products for yourself or your operatives, why risk it?
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Read the full article from The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine