Using This One Common Cleaning Ingredient Could Increase Your Risk of Lung Disease

Odds are, it's sitting in your cabinet right now.

Using-This-One-Common-Cleaning-Ingredient-Could-Increase-Your-Risk-of-Lung-Disease_197403902_Tomasz-RomskiTomasz Romski/Shutterstock

Most of us associate the smell of bleach with a clean home. But that’s just one of the many cleaning myths you need to stop believing. According to recent research, regularly using bleach and other common disinfectants could increase your risk of developing a fatal lung disease.

A 30-year study by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) found that nurses who used disinfectant products just once a week had up to a 32 percent increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD makes it difficult to breathe due to narrowed or blocked airways. Patients develop the disease over time as irritants—such as tobacco smoke—aggravate their airways and damage the fibers in their lungs, according to WebMD. These are the silent signs you could have COPD and not know it.

In 2009, the researchers analyzed data from a massive 1989 study on 55,000 female U.S. nurses and specifically followed those who were still nurses and who had no history of COPD until May 2016. They also used a questionnaire to evaluate the nurses’ exposure to disinfectants, as well as other factors such as age, weight, and ethnicity.

The study associated specific chemicals in disinfecting cleaners, as well as the particular tasks that involved frequent exposure to disinfectants, with a 22 to 32 percent increased risk of developing the disease. There are currently no health guidelines in place for these common cleaning products, but the researchers now emphasize the need to do so. If you’re worried you may be at risk, these exercises can prevent COPD and build healthier lungs.

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) released a statement in response to the study. “Indeed, we cannot underestimate the importance of proper disinfection in healthcare settings to address the growing problem of hospital-acquired infections, and the critical role of nurses in delivering that service,” Dr. Paul DeLeo, Associate Vice President of Environmental Safety for ACI, said in the statement. “It is also important to point out that, based on extensive studies with disinfectants that are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the ingredients in disinfectant products are safe when used as intended.”

[Source: The Guardian]

Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for