Did you know that traditional household cleaning products your mother and most likely your grandmother used may actually cause many health concerns? A recent study by a team of European researchers recently investigated the effects of using standard cleaning products on female health. What the study found was shocking! The study found that using standard chemical cleaning products could harm female workers’ lungs by the same degree as that found in females smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for 10-20 years!
The study did not look at the rate of lung cancer found in these women(which would be a common factor looked for with those who smoke) but instead looked at basic lung function. Basic lung function measures our ability to properly move air in and out of our lungs. Proper air movement is necessary for our body to receive adequate amounts of oxygen into our blood as well as also use to remove toxins and carbon monoxide from out body. What the study found was that those exposed to chemical cleaning products, as often as once a week had a higher risk of developing lung diseases than those that were not chronically exposed to the harsh chemicals.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, is said to be one of the first studies performed that helps us better assess the occupation as well as domestic hazards found in standard household cleaning products. Although this was the first study of its kind, there is well documented accounts that link new- onset asthma, and aggravated asthma, wheezing, respiratory infections and irritations from exposure to household cleaning products. What is less known are the long-term consequences of household cleaning products on respiratory health.
Because the federal regulation of chemicals in cleaning products is not very helpful, I always recommend my patients to look at the EWG (Environmental Worker’s Group)’s guide to healthy cleaning to help patients find safer alternative to our so common household cleaning products. The guide listed by the EWG, rates over 2,5000 products allowing you to find the safety products that can protect you from unnecessary chemical exposure.
Another one of my favorite resources is the app “Think Dirty” which helps rate products based on their health risks, as well as environmental risks.
Mobile Apps to Help You Reduce Your Exposure to Harmful Chemicals (& Find Toxin Free Food, Cosmetics & Household Products)
Cleaning Products May Harm Female Workers’ Lungs As Much As Smoking a Pack a Day