This Household Chore is Worse for Your Lungs than Smoking a Pack of Cigarettes!
If you considered keeping your house clean and germ-free as a healthy habit, you may want to think again as a new research shows that a certain household chore that you perform on a daily basis is as bad for your lungs as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes!
Cleaning Products: A Health Hazard?
A recent study found that using cleaning chemicals inside the house is extremely bad for one’s health – almost as bad as smoking an entire packet of cigarettes. Researchers observed the lung health of more than 6000 participants, consisting of both male and female, at 22 health centers over the course of 20 years and found out that, surprisingly, the chemical products didn’t have the same adverse effects on men’s health as they did on women’s.
Researchers used medical scans at various points in the experiment to see how participants’ lung health changed over the years. People were also asked a set of questions regarding their daily cleaning routine: How often did they clean their house? What products did they use for cleaning? Had they ever worked as professional cleaners? At the end of the study, it was discovered that women who indulged in cleaning chores around their house as little as once per week were susceptible to a decline in their lung capacity.
Both groups of women, who cleaned around the house and worked as professional cleaners, showed lung deterioration comparable to 10-20 years of smoking an entire pack of cigarettes a day.
Declining Lung Health Only Observed in Women
Interestingly, men who cleaned just as much as their female counterparts showed no signs of declining respiratory health. The study, led by researchers from University of Bergen, explained that toxic chemicals and irritants in the cleaning products used domestically were the culprit behind the shocking revelation. Most of the sprays and liquids are made with potent substances such as bleach and ammonia, which, when inhaled, can be damaging to health. Even though researchers expected spay cleaners to be more potent than other cleaning varieties, the health implications were almost similar across the board.
According to the authors, the respiratory damage caused in women due to cleaning chores was long-term and irreversible. From a medical view-point, the cleaning-induced asthma caused by exposure to cleaning chemicals leads to chronic inflammation in the airways, which may be hard to notice, but can have damaging effects over several years. There is already plenty of evidence showing that chemicals like ammonia, which can be found in almost every strong cleaning liquid, cause tissue scarring in lungs if inhaled frequently.
Women Clean More than Men
Cecile Svanes, the leading author of the study said that the long-term effects of strong cleaning chemicals on health have been overlooked in the scientific community and the new evidence reveals a fatal flaw in commonly-used cleaning products which cause slow damage to the lungs which builds up every time you clean, and accelerate respiratory health decline in old age.
Another shocking finding of the study was the amount of male population that had never participated in house-cleaning chores. A staggering number of 1,512 men admitted to have never picked up a cleaning spray in comparison to 197 females. The professional cleaning group also constituted mainly of female participants. Almost 13 per cent of these female cleaners had developed asthma in comparison to 9 per cent of women who never cleaned.
Are Cleaning Products Really Necessary?
The researchers weren’t surprised to find out that cleaning products laced with bleach and ammonia caused lung damage, but the most intriguing aspect of the research was the strange difference in which both men and women responded to these chemicals. Why is inhaling potent chemicals bad for women’s lungs but not for men’s? The mystery remains unsolved. Some researchers speculate that the difference may be due to men’s lungs having higher resistance to damage caused by chemicals and irritants.
Svanes says that not only are the cleaning products commonly used in households dangerous and expensive, but they are also unnecessary most of the time. Unless you’re cleaning a toilet, which needs strong anti-bacterial chemicals like bleach and ammonia, a simple cloth dampened with water should suffice for the rest of your cleaning needs.
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