Home >Cleaning as bad for women as 20 cigarettes a day

Cleaning as bad for women as 20 cigarettes a day

19 February 2018

A study conducted by scientists at the University of Bergen has demonstrated that cleaning can be as bad for you as smoking.

The study looked at over 6,000 men and women, their cleaning habits and preferred cleaning products. It found a clear correlation between women who cleaned and respiratory illness, though not for men.

Taking place over the course of twenty years, the study asked participants whether they cleaned their own house, or whether they worked as professional cleaners. It also investigated how often participants used liquid cleaning products and sprays.

The consequences were the same whether the women used sprays or liquids, which surprised the scientists, who had expected sprays to be significantly more harmful. 

The average age of participants was 34 when they enrolled over twenty years ago. In the study, 1,512 men never cleaned the house, compared to just 197 women. Of those who did clean at home, there were 1,363 men and 2,808 women. Professional cleaners comprised 57 men and 293 women.

The researchers found that 13.7 per cent of women who cleaned at home developed asthma, compared to 9.6 per cent for women who did not clean at all.

The scientists behind that study commented that: "Women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners had accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposures related to cleaning activities may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health."