A recent study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM) stated in their conclusion “Women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners had accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposures related to cleaning activities may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health.”
The study details:
- 20-year longitudinal study
- over 6000 participants – male and female
- average age at start – 34 years old at conclusion 54 years old
- use of spray and liquid home cleaning products were monitored
- lung capacity was monitored regularly
- 28 researchers from 9 countries compiled the results
- peer reviewed in the AJRCC
- Weekly use of home cleaning products is as damaging to your lung health as if you were smoking a pack of cigarette per day. Women cleaning their home once a week over a 20 year period with typical household cleaning products that use bleach, ammonia, or phosphates to clean or disinfect was as if they had smoked 20 cigarettes per day for the same amount of time.
- Women are affected more than men. This is concerning as women are more likely to use the cleaning products than men.
- Using cleaning products at home is just as harmful as being a professional house cleaner. The study indicated that using household cleaners in the home was just as detrimental to lung health as being a professional cleaner. This may be due to the home environment being more relaxed and casual in the use of toxic chemicals.
- Liquid cleaners are as dangerous as spray cleaners. The study found no significant difference between the use of liquid cleaners verses spray cleaners.
- Dangerous chemicals including ammonia, chlorine bleach, and quaternary disinfecting compounds appear to be the culprits. How to tell if your cleaning products contain any of these items. Check the ingredients label to see if it list ammonium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, or dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride.
- Women who regular use cleaning products have an increased rate of asthma. Roxann Nelson’s article “Common cleaning products can trigger asthma symptoms” reporting for Reuters in 2015 wrote “Products such as bleach, glass cleaner, detergents and air fresheners exacerbated asthma-related symptoms for the women, and their reduced lung function lasted until the morning after exposure, in some cases getting worse with time.”
- Lung damage is cumulative over time. The researchers wrote ” Exposure to cleaning chemicals could result in accelerated lung function decline and chronic airway obstruction; low-grade inflammation over many years could possibly lea to persistent damage to airways”