Published: Mon, February 19, 2018
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Cleaning chemicals 'as bad for women's lungs as smoking'

Cleaning chemicals 'as bad for women's lungs as smoking'

They then examined the results alongside a questionnaire in which participants had been asked about the frequency of their use of cleaning products.

The research found that women who cleaned - either around the house as little as once a week or as professional cleaners - had an "accelerated" decline in lung capacity.

CLEANING your home is as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 a day for 20 years, scientists warn.

The study was conducted to find what effects do the cleaning products chemicals have on the long-run.

The authors - led by researchers at the University of Bergen - said that a variety of potential irritants to the lungs are found in domestic products - including bleach and ammonia.

For that reason, the British Lung Foundation recommends cleaning products labeled as "Non-Allergic" because they contain less harmful chemicals.

Some 85 percent of the females reported being the main cleaner at home, while only 46.5 percent of the men reported the same.

The cleaning products may both irritate the lungs and cause persistent changes over time.

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While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact.

The researchers tracked the health of 6,000 adults over a 20 year period, looking at data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey.

Most of the women studied said they were the primary cleaners in their homes, compared with less than half of the male participants who reported being the cleaners in their own.

Co-author Oistein Svanes said that the level of impact of cleaning products on the lungs was surprising at first.

The women - but not the men - who clean their homes or workplaces showed decreased lung function in exhalation tests, according to the paper in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. You will not need a lot of chemicals after all, when cleaning.

The researchers compared the damage to what some cigarette smokers would experience.

"These chemicals are usually unnecessary - microfibre cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes", Svanes added. His suggestion is to develop cleaning products that can't be inhaled, or use simpler cleaning methods.

However, there hasn't been a study to show the effects of the chemicals on healthy subjects, on the long-run.

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