Cleaning products can be just as harmful as smoking

21-12-2018

Cleaners often come into contact with all kinds of cleaning products. A UiB study has shown that cleaners who have been in the cleaning profession for 20 years or longer have a reduced lung function that corresponds to smoking 20 cigarettes a day in the same period. This says PHD candidate Øistein Svanes who works at the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen. He is the lead author of this study.

Bad for the lungs

According to this scientist, these findings are not surprising. This is due to all small particles in cleaning products that you directly inhale.  Research shows that cleaners have an average of 40% more risk of developing asthma than other people. 6000 volunteers were involved in this study. All this is based on the European Community Espiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). The research is published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and is part of the Horizon 2020 project 'Aging Lungs in European Cohorts' (ALEC).

Use a bucket with water

Professor Cecilie Svanes of the Global Public Health and Primary Care and UiB supervisor of this study says that the cleaning sprays are the biggest problem. "The tiny particles from the sprays can remain in the air for hours after cleaning. These small particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause infections and aging of the lungs, explains Svanes, who would use a bucket of water and soap recommend during cleaning, as you do not need as many chemicals as you want to clean Microfibre cloths are just as effective as Cecile Svanes.

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