A new study has found that using bleach and common household disinfectants can increase your risk of developing a potentially fatal lung disease. In fact, the research shows regularly inhaling the chemicals can up your chances of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by up to 32 percent.
COPD affects one in seven Australians 40 years or over and describes a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which is commonly associated with smoking.
The 30-year study, conducted by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), looked at the incidence of the disease in more than 55,000 nurses across the US.
663 of those who had been required to use disinfectants to clean medical instruments and surfaces at least once a week since 1989 were diagnosed with COPD between 2009 and May of this year.
“Some of these disinfectants, such as bleach and quats, are frequently used in ordinary households, and the potential impact of domestic use of disinfectants on COPD development is unknown,” lead researcher Orianne Dumas explained.
“Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”