Chemicals inhaled from spray cleaning and disinfection products and their respiratory effects. A comprehensive review

Adverse respiratory effects have been linked with spray cleaning and disinfection products amongst professional cleaners during cleaning. This paper reviews the published literature and the key points are provided below:

  • The chemicals reviewed included acids, bases, disinfectants, fragrances, organic solvents and propellants.
  • Chemicals of concern regarding respiratory effects are corrosive chemicals such as strong acids and bases (including ammonia and hypochlorite) and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs).
  • Spray cleaning and disinfection products generally contain complex mixtures of chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Many studies identified concern with spray application of products using either trigger sprays (pump) or pressurized spray cans.
  • Hypochlorite (bleach) is a common reported as an important contributor of adverse respiratory effects among cleaning staff.
  • Asthma was the most common reported adverse respiratory problem, including sensitizer-induced asthma, irritant-induced asthma and acute-onset irritant-induced asthma.
  • Frequent daily low-level exposure as well as accidental high-level exposure to cleaning chemicals has been reported in causing irritant-induced asthma.
  • Common perfumes (often present in cleaning products) were not considered an issue.
  • The mixing of some cleaning products can result in airborne aerosols which can be corrosive and result in respiratory irritation.
  • Induction of pulmonary inflammation can occur from inhalation of aerosolized benzalkonium chloride, chlorine, chloroamines, ethanolamines, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, and glutaraldehyde.
  • Recommendations to eliminate the use of spray cleaning products has been suggested.

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