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Tuesday
Feb202018

Cleaning at Home and at Work in Relation to Lung Function Decline and Airway Obstruction

Svanes Ø, Bertelsen RJ, Lygre SH, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print] [CrossRef] [PubMed]

A Norwegian study examined the relationship between cleaning tasks and lung function. The rationale is that cleaning implies exposure to chemical agents and as increased risk of asthma and respiratory symptoms among cleaners has been reported. The authors conduced a multi-center study of a population-based cohort at three time points over twenty years. 6230 participants with at least one lung function measurements from 22 study centers were included. As compared to women not engaged in cleaning (FEV1=-18.5 ml/year), FEV1 declined more rapidly in women responsible for cleaning at home (-22.1, p=0.01) and occupational cleaners (-22.4, p=0.03). The same was found for decline in FVC (FVC-=8.8 ml/year; -13.1, p=0.02 and -15.9, p=0.002, respectively). Both cleaning sprays and other cleaning agents were associated with accelerated FEV1 decline (-22.0, p=0.04 and -22.9, p=0.004, respectively). Cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men or with chronic airway obstruction. Studies have a difficulty controlling for confounders. Although the hypothesis might be true, it may be that cleaning is associated with another activity (e.g., cooking) which might be responsible for the decline in lung function.

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