A new study suggests that some household cleaning products can be as risky as heavy smoking when it comes to women. Researchers found that the health risks of using certain cleaning substances match those of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.
A research team at Norway’s University monitored over 6,000 people who used the cleaning products for two decades. The participants’ median age was 34 at the start of the study.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found significant lung function decline in participants that used those products nearly daily, like cleaners. Scientists found that cleaning by using those products damaged the lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes per day would.
Past studies have tied cleaning products to a higher risk of asthma but it is the first time science acknowledges that there is a long-term impact on lung function in heavy users.
Senior author Cecile Svanes said that her team suspected that the chemicals had some sort of impact on the airways, but researchers weren’t aware that the damage to the lung function was so great after years of use.
Household Cleaning Products Tied to Lower Lung Function
The research team advises staying away from the products and replace them with plain water and microfiber cloths.
- During the study, the team was able to assess lung function by measuring the amount of air coming out of participants’ lungs.
- Participants were also asked to fill in questionnaires about their cleaning habits and the products they use.
The study revealed that participants, mostly women, who used the products routinely had a lower lung capacity than those who never used them. Researchers also found higher rates of asthma in women who regularly used the substances.
Lead author Øistein Svanes noted that the findings should not come as a surprise as the cleaning agents were meant for cleaning the floor, not the lungs.
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