Cleaning sprays damage lungs as much as regular smoking

Researched at the University of Bergen assessed the lungs of 6,235 women and men at 22 centres and then checked on them over the course of twenty years. The damage was stark

Women who regularly clean at home or professionally are damaging their lungs in a way comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for 10 to 20 years due to the inhalation of cleaning sprays, according to a recently published study out of Norway.

New research has found that the use of cleaning sprays can cause significant damage to women's lungs - but the same effect doesn't appear to apply to men. The number of men who worked as occupational cleaners was also small, and their exposure to cleaning agents was likely different from that of women working as cleaning professionals.

The measures of lung function were forced expiratory volume, which is how much air a person can force out in the first second of an exhale following a deep breath in; and forced vital capacity, which is the total air can be forced out from the lungs after a deep breath.

Researchers explain that their study was limited thanks to the small percentage of women who never cleaned, and the small group of men who worked as cleaners who they were able to analyse.

The research includes 6 000 participants, based on the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS).

While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact. Meanwhile, "cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men".

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


The women who used cleaning products at least once a week presented a more damaged respiratory system in comparison to the male subjects.

The researcher said he had expected cleaning agents to have a negative effect on people's health.

It's suspected that inhaling cleaning chemicals causes irritation of the mucous membranes of the airways.

After analyzing the results, they found that women who cleaned as little as once a week had an accelerated lung decline risk.

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

Prof Oistein Svanes added that cleaning chemicals are "usually unnecessary" to use, saying that a good old microfibre cloth and water are 'more than enough for most purposes'.

"Public health officials should strictly regulate cleaning products and encourage producers to develop cleaning agents that can not be inhaled".

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