03 August 2018 Posted By : Administrator

Cleaning Your House May Be Equivalent To Smoking 20 Cigarettes A Day — Study

Regular use of cleaning sprays has been shown to have an impact on lung health comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, according to a new study.

The research was conducted by scientist at Norway’s University of Bergen—who traced more than 6,000 people over a 20-year period—and discovered that women in particular suffered significant health problems after long-term use of these household cleaning agents.

"We found accelerated lung function decline in women both following occupational cleaning and cleaning at home," wrote lead study author ØisteinSvanes in the commentary.

More lung function damage was found among women working as professional cleaners, but even those who merely cleaned their own homes once a week demonstrated lung damage that would be comparable to that caused by smoking about 20 cigarettes per day over 10 to 20 years.

The scientist who conducted the study advised that such harmful products should be avoided and can normally be replaced with water and simple microfibre cloths. Also, finding suitable storage solutions can be particularly helpful in ensuring that items stay dirt free, reducing the need to utilize these harmful cleaning agents regularly.

The research was published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact," said Professor Cecile Svanes, a medic at the University of Bergen and the senior author of the study.

"We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age."

The measurement of lung functions was made by testing the amount of air the participants could forcibly breathe out.

The results were then compared to the answers gotten from a questionnaire give to everyone in the study to gauge their level of cleaning activities.

The scientists discovered that the amount of air breathed out by their participants declined more in women who were cleaning regularly.

However, the study did not find any harmful effects comparable to those seen in the women in the men they studied. Though, the scientists noted that their work did have some few limitations, and the number of men exposed to cleaning products on the scale of women in the study was little.

While the results of the study appear alarming, the researchers speculated “chemicals in cleaning products irritate the fragile mucous membranes lining the lungs, which over time leads to lasting damage and ‘remodelling’ of the airways.”

"When you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe it is not so surprising after all," said Svanes.

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

"These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfibre cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes."

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