If you’re like me, you like the spaces that you live in and work in to be clean, tidy, and well ordered. For just about anyone, this makes household products necessary bits of kit. But new research coming from the University of Bergen has found that household cleaners can have very damaging effects on lung function.
The research team from Norway looked at the long-term effects of household cleaners, particularly those containing bleach and ammonia. They found that, over time, these substances reduce the ability of the lungs to expel air. They followed over 6,000 subjects over two decades. The average age of the test subjects was 34.
They measured lung function by the subject’s ability to exhale forcefully. They did not measure the oxygen content of the exhaled air. This means the results of the test only reflect on the damage done to the constricting muscles of the lungs. They did not test for changes in the ability of the lung tissue to exchange oxygen and filter carbon dioxide from the blood.
Other studies have examined the short term effects of cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia. These studies showed a tendency to aggravate or trigger asthma and other common respiratory problems. Until now, no other study on the effect of cleaning solutions on the lungs has been carried out over such a long period of time.
Possibly the most surprising finding was the fact that only women are affected by household cleaners. Men who participated in the study did not show any deterioration in the strength of their lungs. These were men who either clean for a living or do the majority of household chores.
Still, the researchers warn men not to assume that this means bleach and ammonia cannot harm their lungs. The fact that the men’s lung function was not reduced over time could be due to the higher presence of testosterone which boosts lung function. So, while a man’s lungs may still be damaged by bleach and ammonia, they will not show signs of respiratory damage as readily as women.
Other findings include a startling similarity between the effects of using household cleaners with smoking. The researchers say the extent of the damage done to the lungs of the test subjects is comparable to that of someone who has smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years.
This should be a major eye opener for millions of people who use bleach and ammonia products to clean their home. But the good news is, there are lots of ways to avoid using these products or eliminating the risk of inhaling the fumes.
Hot water can work as well as any standard cleaning solution, and there’s no chance that it will damage or stain surfaces.
Ordinary table salt is extremely unhealthy to eat (pink Himalayan salt is good for you) because it has had its healthy compounds removed and sold to vitamin companies. This reduces the salt to a glass-like powder that irritates tissues causing inflammation. However, this makes it perfect for cleaning. It is also a good way to get rid of fleas.
Well known for its ability to be used for scrubbing and cleaning, baking soda is natural and harmless. But its sodium content helps to remove mold and bacteria while removing stains. It also makes a perfect deodorizer as it absorbs unpleasant smells handily.
These pleasant smelling oils kill germs and clean like the dickens. They have very strong antimicrobial properties which make them good for daily nutritional supplementation. They are also a wonderful way to imbue your home with a bouquet of pleasing aromas.
The old heavy hitter in grandma’s cleaning cupboard, vinegar is one of the strongest natural cleaners around. It is acidic, making it a natural foe of germs, mold, fungus, bacteria, and bugs. It has mild antiseptic properties, making it a good alternative to peroxide for minor boo-boos. Vinegar is also excellent for removing water stains from chrome and glass. Finally, a little bit of apple vinegar in a bowl of water under a lamp is a good way to get rid of flies and gnats.
If you are suffering from lung problems and don’t know why this may be the answer that the doctors haven’t been able to give you. So start phasing out those harsh household cleaners today, and enjoy easier breathing later on.
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