(NaturalHealth365) While cleanliness is a good thing, how you achieve it matters. A recent study out of the University of Bergen in Norway found that women who work with cleaning chemicals regularly experience a decrease in lung functioning over time. This was in comparison with those who do not work as cleaners and avoid toxic chemicals.
While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on cases of asthma have been studied and documented, the long-term impacts had never been assessed. The researchers suspected these chemicals would steadily cause a little damage each day, eventually reducing lung functioning over time and with age.
And, guess what? They were right!
Lung capacity goes down FAST when exposed to household cleaning chemicals
For the study, entitled “Cleaning at Home and at Work in Relation to Lung Function Decline and Airway Obstruction,” the researchers analyzed data from 6,235 persons who had participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Their average age was 34 at the outset, and they were tracked for two decades.
Compared with people who did not do a lot of cleaning, forced expiratory air volume for one second (FEV1) declined 3.9 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners and 3.6 ml/year faster in women who cleaned regularly with toxic cleaners at home. The FEV1 refers to the amount of air a person can forcibly exhale in one second.
Forced vital capacity (FVC), or the total air amount a person can exhale forcibly, declined 7.1 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners and 4.3 ml/year faster in women who cleaned at home.
The evidence is clear: Toxic chemicals cause permanent damage to airways
The accelerated decline in lung functioning in women working as cleaners was similar to that suffered by longtime smokers. The lung function decline is attributable to irritation from cleaning chemicals on mucous membranes lining the lungs.
Over time, this can cause permanent changes to the airways. Asthma was also more prevalent in those with high exposure to cleaning chemicals versus those who did not use them frequently.
Interestingly, men who cleaned did not seem to be affected in these ways. There was no measurable decline in the FEV1 or FVC in men who cleaned frequently versus men who did not.
However, there were significantly fewer men than women studied in this group, which might have skewed the results. The research was published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Action step: Use natural cleaning products – as often as possible
The message here confirms what you probably already knew: use natural cleaning products instead of toxic chemicals whenever possible.
You can make your own natural cleaning products using essential oils to avoid toxic chemical exposure. Mix vinegar, baking soda and a few drops of essential oil (such as tea tree or lavender) into a paste for scrubbing. You can also dilute with water and use in a spray bottle.
With so many healthier choices, when it comes to cleaning products, there’s really no excuse. Avoiding toxins is one of the best ways to take care of your health. Get started today.
Sources for this article include:
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