(WXYZ) – If you’re meticulous about cleaning you could be harming your lungs. A recent study suggests household cleaning products are nearly as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
How are cleaning products affecting our lungs?
It must be my natural instincts keeping me safe because I DON’T LOVE household cleaning! Now, this latest study out of Norway followed more than 6,200 people for over two decades. They found women who cleaned at least once a week had their lung function decline quicker than those who didn’t clean. And women working as cleaners had an even faster decline, with researchers comparing their exposure to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for twenty years.
Researchers think that the small particles in cleaning products irritate the mucous membranes in the airways which leads to long-term damage. Which is not good because we need proper lung function to pump oxygen into the blood and get carbon monoxide out. Poor lung function could be a sign of lung disease or the possible development of it.
What can we use instead of cleaning products – or are any of them safe to use?
It’s really important to choose cleaning products carefully because federal regulation of the chemicals in them is fairly poor. So my prescriptions:
- Try to avoid spray cleaning products. Or spray the product onto a cloth so you don’t breathe in the chemicals as easily.
- Solid and liquid cleaners may be the safer option to use. Be sure to read the label and follow all safety advice.
- Or skip the chemicals and use lukewarm water and a microfiber cloth. An abrasive sponge is also another effective cleaning alternative.
- Keep your home well ventilated. Open a window if you can while cleaning.
Unfortunately, we can’t avoid cleaning our homes, it’s a necessity that needs to be done, but we certainly can take preventative steps to keep our lungs healthy.