Home Cleaning Products Bombshell: Exposure Equivalent to Smoking 20 Cigarettes a Day
Did you know cleaning your home with household cleaners available in most stores can actually create hazardous air conditions inside of your home?
In reality, there are lots of reasons to forgo store-bought home cleaning products. The latest example? Regular, long-term exposure to spray cleaners increases a woman’s risk of lung damage similar to that of smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes a day.
Home Cleaning Products Study: The Main Takeaways
The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, investigated home cleaning products, including sprays and other cleaners. Although the study didn’t look at products’ impacts on lung cancer risk, it did aim to find out how cleaners damage the lungs and impair function.
In the first-of-its-kind study on home cleaning products, Norwegian researchers turned up some important findings. Here are the key takeaways: (1)
The researchers hypothesize that cleaning products’ irritating ingredients cause damage through different avenues, including:
Environmental Working Group’s science review of the study provides some recommendations: (2)
The Dark Side of Home Cleaning Products
The study linking cleaner use to cigarette lung damage should certainly give you pause. But there are dozens and dozens of other peer-reviewed, published studies outlining how harmful cleaning products impact our bodies. Perhaps the scariest part? Cleaner manufacturers don’t have to disclose all of the ingredients in products. And we just don’t know what health effects stem from the way all of these questionable ingredients mix with each other. Here’s what we do know. Let’s take a look at some of the ways toxic cleaning products can damage your body.
Immune System Dysfunction
One animal study published in Science in 2012 demonstrated the harm that can result from living in a too-sterile environment. Researchers observed two groups of mice: the first group was bred with “germ-free” immune systems that lacked gut bacteria; the second group was given normal, healthy exposure to good and bad bacteria. When they were tested, the germ-free mice had much higher levels of inflammation in the colon and lung regions compared to the mice with normal germ exposure (who had healthy immune responses).
The germ-free mice had also developed symptoms similar to ulcerative colitis and asthma. But the good news is, once the germ-free mice were exposed to normal amounts of bacteria two weeks after birth, their immune system response balanced out, and the animals healed from their inflammatory conditions. (3)
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