Regular exposure to cleaning products significantly affects lung function, research has suggested.
The study of 6,000 people by a team from Norway’s University of Bergen, found women appeared to be more badly affected than men.
They said cleaning chemicals were “unnecessary” and microfiber cloths and water were “enough for most purposes”.
UK experts said people should keep their homes well ventilated and use liquid cleaners instead of sprays.
The team looked at data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey.
Previous studies have looked at the short-term effect of cleaning chemicals on asthma, but this work looked at the longer term.
Prof Cecile Svanes, who led the Bergen team, said: “We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age.”
Adults in the study, published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, were followed for more than 20 years.
Their lung function was measured by looking at how much air people could forcibly breath out – and the amount declined more over the years in women who cleaned.
The authors suggest the chemicals in cleaning products irritate the mucous membranes
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