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Cleaning chemicals have a negative impact on the lungs
Most people certainly try to keep their household as clean and germ-free as possible. However, this can lead to serious health problems. Researchers have now found that when women work as cleaners or use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home on a regular basis, this results in an increased decline in lung function.
The researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway found that regular use of cleaning sprays or other cleaning products leads to a reduction in lung function. The doctors published the results of their study in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The data of 6,235 participants were evaluated
The experts examined the connection between the decline in pulmonary function and blockages in the respiratory tract with the use of cleaning products at home. To do this, they analyzed the data from a total of 6,235 participants in the so-called European Community Respiratory Health Survey. The average age of participants when enrolled was 34 years. The subjects were medically monitored over a period of more than 20 years.
Cleaning chemicals damage the respiratory system every day
While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are increasingly documented, knowledge about the long-term effects is lacking, explains study author Professor Dr. Cecile Svanes from the University of Bergen. It is to be feared that such chemicals steadily damage the respiratory tract every day. Over the years, this appeared to accelerate the decline in lung function in old age.
Forced exhalation volume decreased faster
The forced exhalation volume in one second (FEV1) or the maximum amount of air that a person can exhale in one second has decreased by 3.6 milliliters (ml) / year faster in women who regularly clean at home compared to women who do not clean . Women working as cleaners even recorded a 3.9 ml / year faster reduction. The total amount of air a person can exhale decreased 4.3 ml / year faster for women cleaning at home and 7.1 ml / year for women working as cleaners.
Decrease comparable to smoking 20 packs of cigarettes a year
The accelerated decline in lung function in women who worked as cleaners is comparable to smoking a little less than 20 packs of cigarettes a year, the authors explain. This level of pulmonary dysfunction is surprising at first, but when it is considered that small particles are inhaled from cleaning agents that are normally designed to clean the floor, the effects appear to be quite plausible, the experts add.
Cleaning chemicals cause irritation to the mucous membranes
Doctors speculate that the decline in lung function is due to the irritation that most cleansing chemicals cause on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. This can lead to persistent changes in the airways over time.
Cleansing women were more likely to develop asthma
The study also found that women cleaning at home were more likely to develop asthma (12.3 percent). 13.7 percent of women who worked as cleaners contracted asthma, while women who did not clean at home had a risk of only 9.6 percent.
Men don't seem to be affected
The study did not find that men cleaning at home or at work had a greater decrease in FEV1 or FVC compared to non-cleaning men.
Were there any restrictions in the study?
Among the study restrictions, the fact that the study population included very few women who did not clean at home or at work should be mentioned. These women could form a special socio-economic group, the authors explain. The number of men who worked as cleaners was also low.
Cleaning chemicals cause enormous damage to the lungs
The study's message is that in the long run, cleansing chemicals are very likely to cause significant damage to your lungs, the authors say. Such chemicals are usually unnecessary, microfiber towels and water are more than enough for most purposes, the experts add. Healthcare officials believe they should regulate cleaning products more strictly. Manufacturers must be encouraged to develop cleaning products that cannot be inhaled. (as)