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Hospital cleaning products linked to asthma risk

3 February 2009

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Nurses who use hospital cleaning products and medical instrument disinfectants have a greater risk of getting asthma, research shows.

People in the workplace who are exposed to products containing chemicals known to be respiratory irritants have a heightened chance of encountering health problems, a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina in the US has revealed.

More research into products containing nonharmful chemicals has now been called for by the university’s Dr Ahmed Arif.

Dr Arif and his team questioned 3,650 Texas healthcare professionals, including 941 nurses.

They found that nurses who cleaned medical instruments regularly were 67% more likely to develop asthma during the course of their employment.

Meanwhile, nurses who were in contact with general cleaning chemicals and disinfectants had a 72% chance of developing asthma and were 57% more likely to report asthma-like symptoms.

The research was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Dr Arif now wants to see products that pose less of a health risk being used.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

University of North Carolina in the US

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“If nurses delelop asthma what about housekeepers? Are they wearing masks when they use these chemicals?” – Cindy Bolster, Iowa

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