Long-Term Use Of Cleaning Products Causes Lung Problems, Study Says

19 February, 2018, 07:28 | Author: Andrea Terry
  • Researched at the University of Bergen assessed the lungs of 6,235 women and men at 22 centres and then checked on them over the course of twenty years. The damage was stark

The women who used cleaning products at least once a week presented a more damaged respiratory system in comparison to the male subjects.

Researchers discovered that women who cleaned on a regular basis using cleaning supplies are more likely to experience a greater decline in lung function than the ones who didn't clean.

But using cleaning products had no effect on men's lungs, research showed.

Researchers explain that their study was limited thanks to the small percentage of women who never cleaned, and the small group of men who worked as cleaners who they were able to analyse.

The findings stated that the decline in lung function is attributable to the irritation that most cleaning chemicals cause on the mucous membranes lining the airways, which over time results in persistent changes in the airways and airway remodelling.

A new study suggests household cleaning products might do as much damage to women's lungs as smoking cigarettes.


The researchers analyzed data that followed thousands of people over the course of 20 years, including measures of lung function and surveys in which the subjects reported their cleaning habits. Also, the number of participating men working in the cleaning business was small, and doctors think that their exposure to cleaning agents was likely different from that of women who worked as cleaning professionals.

A similar decline was seen in women who cleaned professionally.

Asthma was also more common in women who were exposed to cleaning agents 13.7 percent of cleaning workers and 12.3 percent of the women that cleaned at home, compared with 9.6 percent of those who neither cleaned at home nor at work. Dr Svanes, a respiratory consultant, added: "These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfibre cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes", with the exception being cleaning the toilet when bleach may be necessary, he said. His suggestion is to develop cleaning products that can't be inhaled, or use simpler cleaning methods.

"It is deeply concerning that this study shows cleaning products can cause long-term lung damage for people with asthma".

"Ensuring we keep our homes well ventilated, using liquid cleaners instead of sprays and checking that our cookers and heaters are in good working order will help protect us and prevent everyday products impacting on our lungs".

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