Hospital workers who used a disinfectant reported more incidents of work-related wheeze and watery eyes than those who did not use the product, reports a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study was performed through the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program after workers expressed concerns about the disinfectant. This free NIOSH program is available to help employers and workers recognize and control work-related hazards.
Hospital-acquired infections are a growing problem in U.S. hospitals. As the number of antibiotic-resistant infections rises, prevention is imperative and requires disinfecting patient-care areas and medical equipment. At the same time, exposure to chemicals in cleaning products, through the skin or by breathing in vapors, can worsen asthma and other respiratory symptoms among workers. Subsequently, infection prevention in a hospital requires a balance between protecting the safety and health of patients and hospital workers.