A study of professional cleaning service employees showed that fumes from cleaning products can exacerbate asthma symptoms in women.
Products such as bleach, glass cleaner, detergents and air fresheners exacerbated asthma-related symptoms for the women, and their reduced lung function lasted until the morning after exposure, in some cases getting worse with time.
“These results support the importance of developing workplace health and safety practices designed to limit exposures to irritant chemicals in cleaning products,” the study team writes in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
A wide variety of cleaning products are used by workers in settings like offices, factories and hospitals, write David Vizcaya, of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center in Canada, and his colleagues. Professional cleaning services are necessary to clean, disinfect, and control dust and mold on surfaces, but a number of studies in recent years have reported associations between exposure to cleaning products and asthma, the researchers note.
Vizcaya and his team evaluated respiratory symptoms over about two weeks in 21 women who had asthma symptoms within the past year, eight of whom also had a longer history of asthma. All were employees of cleaning companies in Barcelona, Spain.