Use of cleaning agents can damage lungs

Use of cleaning agents can damage lungs

Their lung function was measured by looking at how much air people could forcibly breath out - and the amount declined more over the years in women who cleaned.

Women who clean their home hurt their lungs, but scientists did not see the same effect in men. The participants, whose average age was 34 when they enrolled, were followed for more than 20 years.

The men who cleaned, in the meantime, did not experience greater decline in the exhale tests than those who did not clean.

The researchers did study a group of men who worked in the cleaning business and compared their results to non-cleaning men and found out that there are no significant differences in the decline of FEV1 or FVC between the two groups.

According to the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bergen in western Norway, women who use cleaning agents regularly at home have reduced lung capacity over a long period of time in contrast to those who do not clean regularly.

The authors warn that cleaning for women "may constitute a risk to respiratory health". The accelerated lung decline was "comparable to smoking somewhat less than 20 pack-years", they conclude.

Asthma was also more prevalent among those who cleaned at home or work, as opposed to those who did not clean, they report (12.3 percent, 13.7 percent, and 9.6 percent, respectively).


The study has some limitations: the study population included very few women who did not clean at home or work.

He added: "The take-home message of this study is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs".

The authors suggest that the reduction in lung capacity happens because cleaning chemicals irritate the mucous membranes lining the airways, which over time results in persistent changes in the airways.

"This study further confirms that air pollution can come from a range of sources, including from paints, adhesives and cleaning products we use indoors".

"Microfiber cloths and water", he said, "are more than enough for most purposes".

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

The study participants were asked several questions - whether they themselves cleaned their house, or worked as professional cleaners, how often they use liquid cleaning products and sprays.

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