A new study from Norway’s University of Bergen found that regularly using cleaning sprays can have the same health effects as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
The researchers examined data from 6,230 men and women, who were an average of 34 years old at the start of the study. They tracked data on their respiratory function over two decades.
The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine-published study measured lung function by testing how much air participants could forcefully breathe out.
The team then analysed this information alongside how much the 6,230 people said they used cleaning products.
Women who regularly used such products, including occupational cleaners, showed a noticeably decreased lung capacity.
These women who cleaned frequently also had increased rates of asthma.
The scientists found that the products tended to affect women's lung capacity more than men's, though they acknowledged that in the study there were fewer male participants who were occupational cleaners than their female counterparts.
"The findings suggest that cleaning activities in women, whether at home or as an occupation, may constitute a risk to respiratory health, not only in terms of asthma as previously shows, but also in terms of long-term impact on lung function decline," the authors noted.
The team explained that the cleaning products' negative effects on women's health is most likely due to their 'irritative effect on the mucous membranes of the airwaves'.
Repeated exposure to these low-grade and irritative cleaning agents may cause persistent changes in people's airways.
"Our findings advocate a need for further focus on preventing harmful exposure to the airways from exposure in cleaning activities," the researchers concluded.
Are you surprised at all by these findings, mums?