Healthcare professionals who regularly use disinfectants as part of their job have an increased risk of developing COPD.
Nurses who used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a regular basis – at least once a week – had a 22% increased risk of developing the lung disease, data from the US Nurses Health Study II revealed.
Lead researcher Dr Orianne Duman (PhD) from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research found that the risks varied depending on the type of disinfectant. The team looked at glutaraldehyde, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds.
“Our findings provide further evidence of the effects of exposure to disinfectants on respiratory problems, and highlight the urgency of integrating occupational health considerations into guidelines for cleaning and disinfection in healthcare settings such as hospitals,” she said.
The research team now hope to secure funding to investigate the impact on COPD of lifetime occupational exposure to chemicals and clarify the role of each specific disinfectant.