Common household chore just as damaging as smoking 20 cigarettes a day

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Common household chore just as damaging as smoking 20 cigarettes a day

According to the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bergen in western Norway, women who use cleaning agents regularly at home have reduced lung capacity over a long period of time in contrast to those who do not clean regularly.

The same trend was not found for men who regularly used cleaning products.

The researchers found that 12.3 per cent of women who cleaned at home and 13.7 per cent of women who cleaned at home developed asthma, compared to 9.6 percent for women who did not clean.

The 20-year research project that involved more than 6,000 participants, concluded that the women who worked as cleaners had the comparable lung function of someone who smoked for about "20 pack-years".

However, the same association was not observed in male participants, with the team finding that men who cleaned either at home or at work did not experience any greater decline in FEV1 or FVC than men who did not clean.

New research has found that the use of cleaning sprays can cause significant damage to women's lungs - but the same effect doesn't appear to apply to men.

"This study further confirms that air pollution can come from a range of sources, including from paints, adhesives and cleaning products we use indoors". Meanwhile, "cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men".

"While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact", admitted the study's senior author, Cecile Svanes.

Doctors suggest that repeatedly inhaling particles of cleaning products affects the airways by causing the mucous membranes lining the airways to become irritated, which over time results in persistent changes in the airways and airway remodelling.

But for now, in light of the results, experts advise skipping the harsh chemicals for everyday cleaning, and using hot water and a microfibre cloth, or a steam cleaner, instead.

They said cleaning chemicals were "unnecessary" and microfiber cloths and water were "enough for most purposes".

The researcher said he had expected cleaning agents to have a negative effect on people's health.

The participants all reported how often they had cleaned, and used chemicals in doing so.

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