Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline

Ebony Scott
February 19, 2018

The researchers speculate that the decline in lung function is attributable to the irritation that most cleaning chemicals cause on the mucous membranes lining the airways, which over time results in persistent changes in the airways and airway remodelling.

There was no difference found in the long-term lung function of the men who said they clean regularly and those that didn't, meaning it is possible that women are simply more susceptible to the effects of the chemicals. The scientists have already found out for some years now the magnitude of the negative impact of the cleaning products chemicals on the respiratory system in asthma patients.

"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 lead author Øistein Svanes of the University of Bergen, Norway.

The team analysed data from 6,235 participants whose average age was 34 when they enrolled and were then followed for more than 20 years.

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

But the researchers suggest that might be because there are fewer men who work as cleaners.

The study also did not find that men who cleaned, either at home or at work, experienced greater decline in FEV1 or FVC than men who did not. You will not need a lot of chemicals after all, when cleaning.

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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'.

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.

He added that public health officials should strictly regulate cleaning products and encourage producers to develop cleaning agents that can not be inhaled.

The cleaning products contain dozens of chemicals which can be inhaled.

"At Asthma UK we'd advise people with the condition who do a lot of cleaning to speak to their GP or nurse about what they can realistically do to reduce the risk of having 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".

Other reports by GizPress

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