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Regular use of bleach leads to health problems
Using bleach every day increases your risk of developing fatal lung disease. Regular use of bleach and other common disinfectants has been associated with a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Scientists from internationally recognized Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) found that regular use of bleach and disinfectants increases the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study at this year's European Respiratory Society International Congress in Milan.
Researchers examine more than 55,000 nurses from the United States
For their study, doctors examined more than 55,000 nurses in the United States for signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The experts found that a single weekly use of bleach or disinfectant led to an increased risk of around 32 percent for the development of COPD.
What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects an estimated 1.2 million people in the UK alone. COPD describes a group of lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which make it difficult to move air into and out of the lungs because the airways have been narrowed due to the disease. In England, almost 25,000 people die each year from the effects of the disease, the experts say.
So far, only a connection between the use of disinfectants and asthma was known
Disinfectants have already been associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases such as asthma. The new study shows for the first time a connection between specific cleaning chemicals (quaternary ammonium compounds) and the formation of COPD.
Some professions increase the risk of developing COPD
The potential effects of exposure to disinfectants on the development of COPD have received little attention so far, the doctors say. However, the latest studies of European populations show that working as a building cleaner is associated with an increased risk of developing COPD, explains researcher Dr. Orianne Dumas from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.
Healthcare workers are also at increased risk
The current study is the first to report a link between disinfectant use and COPD among healthcare workers. The scientists examined the specific chemicals to find out the causes of the connection.
Some of the disinfectants identified here, such as bleach and so-called quaternary ammonium compounds, are often used in ordinary households. However, the potential effects of domestic use of disinfectants on the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have so far been unclear, explains the author Dr. Dumas. (as)