Beware of Bleach: It May Be Bad for Your Lungs
New research suggests exposure to household cleaning products that contain bleach increases the risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) – a group of conditions that cause breathing problems. While smoking is the leading contributor to COPD, household and workplace pollutants also play a key role, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COPD affects nearly 15.7 million people in the United States and is the third leading cause of death.
The new study was conducted by researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and the results were presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2017 in Milan, Italy. The researchers used data from the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II), one of the largest studies ever conducted on women and chronic disease risk. They assessed exposure to disinfectants, including bleach, hydrogen, peroxide, alcohol, and a chemical called glutaraldehyde (used to sterilize medical instruments among) among more than 55,000 nurses with no history of COPD over the years 2009 to 2017. The nurses who used disinfectants regularly had a 22 to 32 percent higher risk of developing COPD.