According to a recent study, workers who use cleaning and disinfecting products may be 50 percent more likely to develop asthma, and 43 percent more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The study, led by British and Italian researchers, conducted a systematic review of 39 articles and a meta-analysis of 21 studies about a range of respiratory illnesses among cleaning workers.
Researchers found evidence in fifteen of the 21 studies that supported a positive correlation between asthma and duration of employment or exposure to cleaning agents. The COPD risk was quantified by three large population-based studies. Two of the studies found evidence in participants who never smoked and didn’t have asthma — so those factors could be ruled out.
The research shows that the most likely respiratory symptoms for cleaners include cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and itchy or runny nose. Other potential symptoms are bronchial hyper-responsiveness, lower and upper respiratory tract symptoms, and rhinitis.
These results are especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic as the use of and exposure to cleaning products has increased globally to prevent the spread of the virus.
How Can Employers Reduce Respiratory Illness like COPD?
Employers should start by taking preventative measures to reduce exposure to cleaning.
Of course, sanitization is an important part of COVID-19 protocols, but additional PPE and ventilation should be utilized when possible.
Secondly, employers should strengthen respiratory health surveillance of cleaning workers to detect any early symptoms of respiratory illness, such as asthma or COPD.
Proper medical surveillance should include respiratory testing, as well as respirator fit testing, if respirators are used on the job. This can be a quick and easy step for employers with companies like Worksite Medical, which brings a mobile medical unit to the jobsite and for on-site testing. They are one of the few occupational medicine companies that offers both in-clinic and on-site X-rays with optional B-Reader & bloodwork.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote