Cleaning the house is as bad for women’s lungs as smoking a packet of cigarettes a day.
However using cleaning products had no effect on men’s lungs, research showed.
Researched assessed the lungs of 6,235 women and men at 22 centres – and then checked on them again over the course of twenty years, shares Daily Mail.
They were asked whether they cleaned their own house, or whether they worked as professional cleaners. They were also asked how often they used liquid cleaning products and sprays.
The research found that women who cleaned – either around the house as little as once a week or as professional cleaners – had an ‘accelerated’ decline in lung capacity.
The drop in lung function in both groups was comparable to smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes for between 10-20 years.
The authors warn that cleaning for women ‘may constitute a risk to respiratory health’.
No effect was found on the lungs of men who did the cleaning – either professionally, or just as part of their domestic chores.
The authors – led by researchers at the University of Bergen – said that a variety of potential irritants to the lungs are found in domestic products – including bleach and ammonia.
No significant difference was found between using cleaning sprays and cleaning liquids – a surprise to the researchers who expected sprays to have more impact on the lungs.
The authors write: ‘Women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners had accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposures related to cleaning activities may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health.’
Explaining the medical effects on the lungs, the researchers said ‘low-grade inflammation over many years could possibly lead to persistent damage to the airways, alternatively, persistent damage could result from continued exposure after onset of cleaning-related asthma.’
They added that it was well documented that ‘airway irritants such as ammonia and bleach’ (both found in household products such as bleach and toilet cleaner) cause ‘fibrotic’ changes to the lung tissue – scarring of the lungs.
The researchers suggest that people should use bleach to clean less – as ‘water and a microfibre cloth’ are sufficient for most cleaning tasks.
I think this really highlights to us how important it is to use natural cleaning products and ditch the chemicals.
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