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Using bleach once a week linked to fatal lung disease

CLEANING once a week with harsh disinfectants could increase the risk of developing a potentially fatal lung disease, a study has warned.

Regularly breathing in strong cleaning chemicals could increase the risk by up to 32 per cent. Nurses, cleaners and others who use the products at work, could be at particular risk.

Previous studies have linked exposure to disinfectants with breathing problems such as asthma, but much less attention has been paid to their contribution to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Dr Orianne Dumas, from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, looked at US nurses who had to disinfect instruments and wards.

The study looked at exposure to specific strong disinfectants such as glutaraldehyde, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds known as ‘quats’, mainly used for surfaces such as floors and furniture. All ‘were associated with an increased risk of COPD of between 24 to 32 per cent’, the study said.

Dr Dumas said: ‘These are preliminary findings and more research needs to be carried out. Some of these disinfectants are frequently used in ordinary households, and the potential impact of domestic use is unknown.’