Cleaning products may aggravate asthma

By Jessica Brandi • Published: June 2nd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Here’s one more reason to put off your spring cleaning this year. For anyone who has ever felt they were allergic to household chores, new research reveals they might not be far off.

Exposure to industrial cleaning products has been known to put custodial workers and other people who clean for a living at risk for asthma and can aggravate existing conditions. But a new study looks at the effects of common household cleaners on the general public. The study, published in a recent issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, suggests that household cleaning may aggravate respiratory problems in women with asthma.

The researchers compared the effects of cleaning products while performing tasks like mopping, dusting, kitchen and bathroom cleaning and glass cleaning on twenty-five asthmatic and nineteen non-asthmatic women. All of the women reported being the primary cleaner in their household.

Women in both groups showed increased upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms after using relatively mild cleaning agents. But there was a significant change in lower respiratory tract symptoms after cleaning in asthmatic patients compared with non-asthmatic patients.

The researchers said larger studies would be needed to determine whether these everyday tasks put non-asthmatic women at risk for developing asthma.

Women with asthma should try to limit their exposure to cleaning agents. So next time company or Sunday cleaning comes around, remember to go easy on the Clorox, or better yet, pass some chores along to someone else.