Lung Function Declines Faster in Women Who Use Cleaning Products

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Researchers found that the decline in lung function of women working as cleaners or regularly using cleaning products at home was to the same degree as smoking 20 cigarettes a day over 10 to 20 years.

In order to further understand the long-term respiratory effects of using such chemicals, researchers conducted a study wherein they analyzed the data of the 6,235 participants of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey who were followed for over 20 years since they signed up.

Results of the study show evidence of lung function decline among the women who cleaned both professionally and at home, but more so among the professional cleaners.

The researchers found that 12.3 per cent of women who cleaned at home and 13.7 per cent of women who cleaned at home developed asthma, compared to 9.6 percent for women who did not clean. Some 85 percent of the females reported being the main cleaner at home, while only 46.5 percent of the men reported the same.

However, the same association was not observed in male participants, with the team finding that men who cleaned either at home or at work did not experience any greater decline in FEV1 or FVC than men who did not clean.

They were asked whether they cleaned their own house, or whether they worked as professional cleaners. The authors believe this group of women "constitute a selected socioeconomic group".

The scientists said they were initially shocked by the results.

"While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well-documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact", senior author Cecile Svanes said in a statement.

United Kingdom experts have now advised that if you keep your windows open and don't use sprays, you'll avoid wrecking your lungs in the long term.

Co-author Oistein Svanes, said the level of impact on cleaning products was seen as surprising at first.

The authors speculate that the decline in lung function is attributable to the irritation that most cleaning chemicals cause on the mucous. You will not need a lot of chemicals after all, when cleaning. "These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes".

Cleaning products are bad for your lungs according to a new study.

Professor Cecilie Svanes at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, UiB, supervisor of the study, says the cleaning sprays are the main problem.

Many people often use spray cleaning chemicals when cleaning whether because it is their job or simply for their own homes.

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