Cleaning agents

Super Categories

Subcategories

Known Synonyms

chloraclean
Clean and Buff
Clean and buff spray
Cleaning Fluids
Polish
Screen Wash
'squeaky clean' window cleaner
One study has shown that housewives have a 20-30% increased risk of asthma when compared to nonmanual workers, where the incidence of asthma was higher among those using spray cleaners. Spraying on the cleaner results in a higher exposure as it gets into the air and can be inhaled. Non spray cleaners (liquids, pastes etc) only become inhalable after evaporation which happens relatively slowly and in low quantities. 

Another study shows a  mean duration of cleaning work before the onset of the respiratory symptoms of 14 years (range 1–36 years). In this study occupational asthma was triggered by chemicals in 9 cases (45%) and by moulds in 11 cases (55%). The chemicals were wax-removing substances containing ethanolamines in five cases, an agent containing chloramine-T in one case and chemicals used in the industrial processes in three cases. Of the moulds, the most frequently associated with occupational asthma was Aspergillus fumigatus (nine cases). 

Efforts should be made to reduce exposure when cleaning. Think about whether it is necessary to use a very aggressive product when a less toxic one would suffice. Can a spray be replaced by another product type (liquid, paste etc) to reduce exposure? Is the quantity of cleaning agent appropriate and can the frequency of use be reduced? Windows should always be opened where possible.

Once a worker has become sensitised to a particular agent / chemical it is best to avoid all further contact with that agent, although finding the exact cause of the problem can be difficult given the large variety of chemicals that most cleaners use. Still, once this is done substitution of a particular product / products is usually possible in the workplace. Be sure to check the constituents of each product when doing this.

Some problems can occur from acute inhalations of large quantities of the chemicals involved, especially when mixing different cleaning products. Chlorine, chloramines and trichloramine are all easily produced from mixing simple cleaning products, such as bleach and dishwashing liquid.

There are also potential problems with skin contact (wear gloves) as many cleaning products are irritating to the skin at low concentrations and can cause burns at higher concentrations.

Agent Cleaning agents
Other Names
Too numerous to mention
Sources of Exposure
Domestic and professional cleaning have the highest exposures. Bystander exposure possible in most jobs.
Jobs Professional Cleaners, housewives / husbands.
Epidemiological Studies
 The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma , Am J Respir Crit Care Med , 2007
Air Measurements Some small studies have looked at exposure after using particular products, usually under experimental conditions. One study looked at personal exposure during common cleaning activities.
Specific IgE/ Skin prick test None
Biological Monitoring None
Specific Challenge Easy to mimic usual exposures.
Early References
Occupational asthma due to indirect exposure to lauryl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride used in a floor cleanerOccupational asthma due to chloramine-T solutionFloor cleaning materials as a cause of occupational asthma 
Substitutes Many are available depending on the job being done. 

References for: Cleaning agents See published papers on "Cleaning agents" from this website.
Haz-Map information on: Cleaning agents See information on "Cleaning agents" from the HazMap (Information on Hazardous Chemicals and Occupational Diseases) website.

Oasys Notifications for Cleaning agents

The Oasys Audit scheme started midway through 2010 and collects agents typed in through the Oasys program. The years before 2010 show old data entered during 2010 or later and are likely to have many fewer notifications. We expect Oasys to become more widely adopted as time goes by so increasing notifications does not necessarily mean an increasing problem.

Occupational asthma notifications to the Oasys Audit Scheme for Cleaning agents

Selected References for Cleaning agents

Abstract Available for Occupational asthma in professional cleaning work: a clinical study Mäkelä R, Kauppi P, Suuronen K, Tuppurainen M, Hannu T, Occupational asthma in professional cleaning work: a clinical study , Occup Med, 2011;61:121-126,
Timo Hannu, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, an author of 'Occupational asthma in professional cleaning work: a clinical study'

Abstract Available for Occupational exposures among domestic and industrial professional cleaners Arif AA, Hughes PC, Delclos GL, Occupational exposures among domestic and industrial professional cleaners, Occup Med, 2008;58:458-463,
Jordi Delclos, Texas University, Houston, an author of 'Occupational exposures among domestic and industrial professional cleaners' Ahmed Arif, University of North Carolina, an author of 'Occupational exposures among domestic and industrial professional cleaners'

Abstract Available for Rhinitis and asthma symptoms in non-domestic cleaners from the São Paulo metropolitan area, Brazil Maçãira EdeF, Algranti E, Mendonça EMC, Bussacos MA, Rhinitis and asthma symptoms in non-domestic cleaners from the São Paulo metropolitan area, Brazil, Occup Environ Med, 2007;64:446-453,

Full Text Available for The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma Zock JP, Plana E, Jarvis D, Antó JM, Kromhout H, Kennedy SM, Künzli N, Villani S, Olivieri M, Torén K, Radon K, Sunyer J, Dahlman-Hoglund A, Norbäck D, Kogevinas M, The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma, Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2007;176:735-741,
Josep Antó, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma' Kjell Toren, Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Goteborg, an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma' Susan Kennedy, Vancouver, an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma' Katja Radon, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich, an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma' Jan-Paul Zock, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain, an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma' N Kunzli, Barcelona, an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma' Dan Norback, , an author of 'The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma'

Full Text Available for Short-term respiratory effects of cleaning exposures in female domestic cleaners Medina-Ramón M, Zock JP, Kogevinas M, Sunyer J, Basagaña X, Schwartz J, Burge PS, Moore V, Antó JM, Short-term respiratory effects of cleaning exposures in female domestic cleaners, Eur Respir J, 2006;27:1196-1203,
Josep Antó, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, an author of 'Short-term respiratory effects of cleaning exposures in female domestic cleaners' Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Short-term respiratory effects of cleaning exposures in female domestic cleaners' Vicky Moore, Oasys, an author of 'Short-term respiratory effects of cleaning exposures in female domestic cleaners' Jan-Paul Zock, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain, an author of 'Short-term respiratory effects of cleaning exposures in female domestic cleaners'

Full Text Available for World at work: Cleaners Zock JP, World at work: Cleaners, Occup Environ Med, 2005;62:581-584,
Jan-Paul Zock, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain, an author of 'World at work: Cleaners'

Abstract Available for Cleaning products and air fresheners: exposure to primary and secondary air pollutants Nazaroff WW, Weschler CJ, Cleaning products and air fresheners: exposure to primary and secondary air pollutants, Atmos Environ, 2004;38:2841-2865,

Abstract Available for Residential exposure to volatile organic compounds and asthma. Dales R, Raizenne M, Residential exposure to volatile organic compounds and asthma., J Asthma, 2004;41:259-270,

Full Text Available for The role of household exposures in lung disease among women Blanc PD, The role of household exposures in lung disease among women, Eur Respir Monogr, 2003;25:118-130,
Paul Blanc, University of California San Francisco, an author of 'The role of household exposures in lung disease among women'

Full Text Available for Asthma characteristics in cleaning workers, workers in other risk jobs and office workers Zock JP, Kogevinas M, Sunyer J, Jarvis D, Toren K, Anto JM, Asthma characteristics in cleaning workers, workers in other risk jobs and office workers, Eur Respir J, 2002;20:679-685,
Josep Antó, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, an author of 'Asthma characteristics in cleaning workers, workers in other risk jobs and office workers' Kjell Toren, Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Goteborg, an author of 'Asthma characteristics in cleaning workers, workers in other risk jobs and office workers' Jan-Paul Zock, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain, an author of 'Asthma characteristics in cleaning workers, workers in other risk jobs and office workers'

Full Text Available for Floor cleaning materials as a cause of occupational asthma McCoach JS, Robertson AS, Burge PS, Floor cleaning materials as a cause of occupational asthma, Indoor Air, 1999;99:5:459-464,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Floor cleaning materials as a cause of occupational asthma' Jennifer McCoach (now Croft), Oasys, an author of 'Floor cleaning materials as a cause of occupational asthma' Alastair Robertson, Selly Oak Hospital, an author of 'Floor cleaning materials as a cause of occupational asthma'

Abstract Available for Risk in cleaning: chemical and physical exposure Wolkoff P, Schneider T, Kildesø J, Degerth R, Jaroszewski M, Schunk H, Risk in cleaning: chemical and physical exposure, Sci Total Environ, 1998;215:135-156,

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