The disinfectants that you use to clean your home may be an invitation to a deadly disease. A recent study has found that regular use of bleach and other disinfectants escalate the risk of fatal lung disease. A specific chemical in disinfectants can increase the chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by 22 to 32 per cent. COPD is a type of lung disease in which the patient finds it difficult to breathe as the airflow is blocked.
"We found that people who use disinfectants to clean surfaces on a regular basis - at least once a week - had a 22 per cent increased risk of developing COPD," said Orianne Dumas from the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in France. Further, the study found that exposure to disinfectants such as glutaraldehyde - used for medical instruments - bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as "quats", mainly used for low-level disinfection of surfaces such as floors and furniture) were associated with an increased risk of COPD of between 24 per cent to 32 per cent.
For the study, presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Milan, the team analysed data from 55,185 female nurses, who were followed from 2009, for approximately eight years until May 2017. During that time 663 nurses were diagnosed with COPD.
"Our findings provide further evidence of the effects of exposure to disinfectants on respiratory problems, and highlight the urgency of integrating occupational health considerations into guidelines for cleaning and disinfection in healthcare settings such as hospitals. The everyday use of bleach currently has no specific health guidelines, but the researchers hope the study will prompt investigation.
The new finding is an alert for workers whose jobs include regular cleaning. Earlier studies have found connection between disinfectants and respiratory problems such as asthma among healthcare workers.
(With IANS inputs)