Women Who Clean at Home or Work Have Faster Lung Decline
Feb 19, 2018, 00:47
The results, even if surprising at first because of the high lung impairment, are justified, believes Svanes - for example, inhaling particles of cleaning agents meant for the household, and not for the lungs is, basically, bad for one's health.
The scientists found that the amount of air women who cleaned could forcibly exhale declined more over time than in women who didn't, hinting at a decline in the cleaners' lung function. To lower the risk, the British Lung Foundation suggests looking for products that are labeled "allergy friendly" as they have fewer chemicals.
The products seemed to affect the lung capacity of women who took part in the study more than men, though they noted the number of male participants was small compared to the number of female participants. During that time span, the participants were asked if they cleaned their homes and if they were professional cleaners. They were categorized as "cleaning", "not cleaning", and "occupational cleaning".
The team looked at data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey.
Due to their findings, researchers see the need to focus on preventing the harmful effects of exposure to chemical cleaning products.
They also found increased rates of asthma among women who used the products regularly.
Experts say they cause damage to airways, speeding up the decline of our lungs as we age.
The men who cleaned, in the meantime, did not experience greater decline in the exhale tests than those who did not clean. In fact, the decline in lung function capacity among cleaners was found to be comparable to smoking nearly 20 pack-years.
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Oistein Svanes, who also worked on the study, said: "The take-home message is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs".
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.
"Cleaning products can be toxic for people with asthma as they often contain chemical compounds that can inflame the airways, leaving people prone to an asthma attack".
"Ensuring we keep our homes well ventilated, using liquid cleaners instead of sprays and checking that our cookers and heaters are in good working order will help protect us and prevent everyday products impacting on our lungs".
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