Women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners appear to have an accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposure to both cleaning sprays and other cleaning agents may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health

In May 2018 researchers from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey based in Norway, Spain, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, and the UK published the results of their study to assess the long-term effects of occupational cleaning and cleaning at home on lung function decline and airway obstruction. A total of 6,235 individuals with at least one lung function measurement from 22 study centres were assessed at three time points over a 20 years period. Information on cleaning activities was collected via questionnaire. Results showed that compared with women not engaged in cleaning, FEV1 (the volume of air that can be forced out in one second after taking a deep breath, an important measure of pulmonary function) declined more rapidly in women responsible for cleaning at home and occupational cleaners. The same was found for decline in FVC (the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible). Both cleaning sprays and other cleaning agents were associated with accelerated FEV1 decline. Cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men or with FEV1/FVC decline or airway obstruction.

Svanes Ø et al. Cleaning at Home and at Work in Relation to Lung Function Decline and Airway Obstruction. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 May 1;197(9):1157-1163

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