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Using This One Common Cleaning Ingredient Could Increase Your Risk of Lung Disease

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 9/12/2017 Brooke Nelson

© Tomasz Romski/Shutterstock Most of us associate the smell of bleach with a clean home. But that’s just one of the many cleaning myths you need to stop believing. According to recent research, regularly using bleach and other common disinfectants could increase your risk of developing a fatal lung disease.

A 30-year study by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) found that those who used disinfectant products just once a week had up to a 32 percent increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD makes it difficult to breathe due to narrowed or blocked airways. Patients develop the disease over time as irritants—such as tobacco smoke—aggravate their airways and damage the fibers in their lungs, according to WebMD. These are the silent signs you could have COPD and not know it.

In 2009, the researchers analyzed data from a massive 1989 study on 55,000 female U.S. nurses and specifically followed those who were still nurses and who had no history of COPD until May 2016. They also used a questionnaire to evaluate the nurses’ exposure to disinfectants, as well as other factors such as age, weight, and ethnicity.

The study associated specific chemicals in disinfecting cleaners, as well as the particular tasks that involved frequent exposure to disinfectants, with a 22 to 32 percent increased risk of developing the disease. There are currently no health guidelines in place for these common cleaning products, but the researchers now emphasize the need to do so. If you’re worried you may be at risk, these exercises can prevent COPD and build healthier lungs.

Regular use of disinfectants is believed to cause asthma, as well. 'The potential adverse effects of exposure to disinfectants on COPD have received much less attention, although two recent studies in European populations showed that working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD,' said Inserm researcher Orianne Dumas. 'To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to report a link between disinfectants and COPD among healthcare workers, and to investigate specific chemicals that may underlie this association.'

Translation? It’s time to rethink the way you sanitize your surfaces. Since bleach may not be your best bet, try these 15 chemical-free ways to clean your home.

[Source: The Guardian]

You have swelling, pain, and tenderness in one leg: At first glance, this seems like it'd have nothing to do with your lungs. But this can be a sign you have deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in your leg, says Andrea McKee, MD, Chairman of Radiation Oncology at the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) Sophia Gordon Cancer Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. McKee also serves on the Lung Association's Lung Cancer Expert Medical Advisory Panel and works with their LUNG FORCE initiative to help raise awareness and educate women about lung cancer. The risk here is that the blood clot can break off and get into your lung, a condition called a pulmonary embolism. A clot in your lung can block blood flow and cause serious damage. Other clues include shortness of breath, problems breathing, and chest pain. (But you may also have no lung symptoms.) It's important to get help as soon as you can: 30 percent of patients with this condition die, reports the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 7 Silent Signs Your Lungs Could Be In Trouble


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