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Cleaning chemicals 'as bad for women's lungs as smoking'

Cleaning chemicals 'as bad for women's lungs as smoking'

The study has some limitations: the study population included very few women who did not clean at home or work.

Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), or the amount of air a person can forcibly exhale in one second, declined 3.6 milliliters (ml)/year faster in women who cleaned at home and 3.9 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners. The average age of the study participants was 34 when they enrolled and were followed for more than 20 years.

So, girls, if you are exhausted of cleaning all the time, showing this study to your masculine other halves might get you out of a bunch of chores.

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 take home message of this study is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs", Øistein Svanes said.

They also found increased rates of asthma among women who used the products regularly.

However, the ratio between FEV1 to FVC - which is a key metric in determining chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - did not decline more rapidly in the women who cleaned.

In fact, continued exposure is about as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 10-20 years.

However, the study found that asthma was a more frequent condition among women who cleaned at home (by 12.3%) and at work (by 13.7%), compared to those who did not clean (9.6%).

"There are some women who think it's a commandment from the Torah to clean for Pesach [Passover] using bleach and powerful oven cleaners".

Due to their findings, researchers see the need to focus on preventing the harmful effects of exposure to chemical cleaning products. The products of concern were those containing quaternary ammonium compounds ('Quats'). It is also a good idea to open the window when cleaning a room to ensure there is plenty of ventilation.

The study was published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The research adds to previously reported concerns about the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products. Best advice is to avoid breathing in too many VOCs on a regular basis. In addition, there are chlorine-based agents (like sodium hypochlorite), which is the active ingredient in bleach.

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