Jan 21, 2009

Nurses who breathe in cleaning chemicals are more likely to get asthma

From telegraph
Nurses who are exposed to cleaning products, antiseptics and disinfectants in hospitals are 70 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with asthma, research has found.
Researchers in America found chemicals in wards run by nurses which could irritate the lungs including cleansers and antiseptics used on patients' skin, chemicals used in the sterilization of equipment and all purpose cleaners such as bleach.
Using powdered latex gloves, before they were phased out, and administering medicines in aerosol form also increased the risk of asthma, the study found.
There are 5.4m people in the UK currently receiving treatment for asthma and cleaning products and irritants in the workplace are known to be one of the causes of the disease.
The findings are based on a sample of 3650 healthcare workers including 941 nurses in Texas, America.
Cleaning instruments was associated with a 67 per cent increased chance of being diagnosed with asthma and nurses who were exposed to general cleaning products were 72 per cent more likely to have asthma.
The findings are published online by the British Medical Journal before appearing in print in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Ahmed Arif, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in America, said: "Substituting cleaning agents with environmentally friendly 'green chemicals' and using appropriate personal care protection could help minimize occupational exposures in this professional group.
Regular exposure to hospital cleaning products and disinfectants significantly increases nurses' risks of developing asthma, indicates research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
"We are actively encouraging all employers to safeguard their employees’ health by reducing their exposure to potential asthma risks. We advise that where possible, solid or liquid cleaning products should be used instead of sprays and that using as little of the product as possible and opening windows can also make a big difference.
Read full From telegraph