Regular scrubbing may be seriously messing with your lung function.
It's no secret that #WorkingMomLife is a constant state of triage, so if nightly post-dinner kitchen and bathroom scrubdowns are leaving you wiped, consider this your permission slip to knock them off your list.
A new study out from the University of Bergen in Norway just found that regular use of cleaning sprays can have the same effect as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes a day.
The study, published in American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, followed more than 6,000 people over a 20-year period. It found women, both working as cleaners and who regularly used cleaning products at home, had the same declines in lung function as if they had been smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 10 to 20 years.
"While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact," Professor Cecile Svanes, a medic at the University of Bergen and the senior author of the study, told the Irish Independent News Service.
The researcher continued: "We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age."
The study looked at how much air people could forcibly breathe out, and then compared the results to how often they reported using certain cleaning products over a period of time. Lower amounts of lung function were found in those who regularly cleaned.
While the study found the shocking results in the women studied, they failed to find the same correlation in men—possibly, postulate the authors, because the number of men exposed to cleaning products on the scale of women in the study was small.
[WM side-note: just more evidence that though women make up half the work force, men have yet to assume half the chores at home.]
"When you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe it is not so surprising after all," said Oistein Svanes, a doctoral student who led the study.
In all cases, researchers suggested using a microfiber cloth and water when possible and avoiding the harsh stuff if you can help it.
And the next time someone complains about the kitchen being messy, you can simply say: sorry, cleaning is bad for my health.
Written by Meghann Foye for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.