.London LST16 HEALTH-CLEANING-LUNGS Cleaning sprays as harmful as smoking

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The academics found there was no difference in long-term lung function between men who said they regularly cleaned and those who did not. The scientists compared the use of cleaning products for a 20 years period with smoking 20 cigarettes per day for 20 years.

Although the team commented that the level of lung impairment was surprising at first, lead study author Øistein Svanes noted that, "However, 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".

However, the effect was not seen in men who cleaned, either at home or at work did not experience.

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.

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The study was conducted to find what effects do the cleaning products chemicals have on the long-run.

Asthma was also more prevalent among those who cleaned at home or work, as opposed to those who did not clean, they report (12.3 percent, 13.7 percent, and 9.6 percent, respectively).

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Researchers speculate that the decline in lung function is attributed to the irritation most cleaning chemicals cause on the mucous membranes lining the airways.

The results showed that women who cleaned their house as little as once a week or as professional cleaners, they had an "accelerated" decline in lung capacity.

For their assessment, the researchers examined the lungs of more than 6,200 women and men from 22 health institutions, following them over a course of 20 years.

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

"It is deeply concerning that this study shows cleaning products can cause long-term lung damage for people with asthma".

"The easiest advice is to avoid using so many chemicals when cleaning for most tasks it is enough to use water and a microfiber cloth", Svanes said.

"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".

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