Professional and domestic cleaning is associated with work-related asthma (WRA). This position paper reviews the literature linking exposure to cleaning products and the risk of asthma and focuses on prevention. Increased risk of asthma has been shown in many epidemiological and surveillance studies, and several case reports describe the relationship between exposure to one or more cleaning agents and WRA. Cleaning sprays, bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, mixing products, and specific job tasks have been identified as specific causes and/or triggers of asthma. Because research conclusions and policy suggestions have remained unheeded by manufactures, vendors, and commercial cleaning companies, it is time for a multifaceted intervention. Possible preventive measures encompass the following: substitution of cleaning sprays, bleach, and ammonia; minimizing the use of disinfectants; avoidance of mixing products; use of respiratory protective devices; and worker education. Moreover, we suggest the education of unions, consumer, and public interest groups to encourage safer products. In addition, information activities for the general population with the purpose of improving the knowledge of professional and domestic cleaners regarding risks and available preventive measures and to promote strict collaboration between scientific communities and safety and health agencies are urgently needed.
Keywords: allergies; asthma; epidemiology; occupational; prevention.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.