Today's News

Health care workers risk asthma from cleaning chemicals (5/24)

May 24, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Health care professionals are at risk of developing work-related asthma (WRA) from the cleaning chemicals used in hospitals, according to a new study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine Online.

In an attempt to identify a relationship between work-related exposure to cleaning-related chemicals and the onset of WRA, researchers surveyed 3,650 health care workers about asthma diagnoses and symptoms and exposure to individual cleaning substances.

They found that that exposure to bleach, cleaners/abrasives, toilet cleaners, detergents and amonia and to glutaraldehyde/ortho-phtaldehyde, chloramines and ethylene oxide significantly increased the chances of WRA. Exposure to chloramines increased the likelihood of a WRA diagnosis fivefold.

“The odds of WRAS and WEA increased in a dose-dependent manner for exposure in the longest job to cleaning agents and disinfectants/sterilants, respectively,” said the study’s authors.

WRA is an important public health problem affecting one quarter of adults with asthma. Although cleaning substances are routinely used in hospitals, few studies have addressed their potential adverse respiratory health effects on healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Workplace asthma was defined as a categorical variable with four mutually exclusive categories: work-related asthma symptoms (WRAS), work-exacerbated asthma (WEA), occupational asthma (OA) and none. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between self-reported use of cleaning substances and asthma outcomes among HCPs.

The authors of the study were Ahmed A Arif of the Department of Public Health Sciences; UNC Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina and George L Delclos of the Division of Epidemiology; Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences; The University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas and the Center for Research in Occupational Health (CiSAL;, Pompeu Fabra Universiy and CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública in Barcelona, Spain.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.


Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon



Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/30/14 2:00 pm EST

Leveraging Sustainability Initiatives to Benefit Your Community and Increase Compliance

This webinar will review how General Motors' Sustainability initiatives are being leveraged to improve the community and the environment, create efficient energy programs, improve sustainability tracking, impact on processes and overall reporting and improve overall social, environmental and corporate sustainability.

ISHN Magazine


2014 September

ISHN'S September issue features a series of essay on thought leadership. Get expert advice on self-motivation, compliance and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.