In a study beginning this fall, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers, with outside investigators, will study the types of exposures and the levels at which cleaning products trigger asthma and other respiratory and irritant symptoms in hospital workers. Consistent with NIOSH’s commitment to improving the health and safety of healthcare workers, the researchers anticipate that their findings will provide valuable information about how to help prevent potentially debilitating job-related conditions.
Workplace-related asthma is preventable but common, especially in certain settings like healthcare that require many chemical products for cleaning and disinfecting. While previous research has shown that workers who regularly use cleaning products are at greater risk for asthma, the types of exposure and the levels that may increase risk are unclear.
To clarify these exposures, researchers will use innovative techniques to separate and measure the various chemicals contained in each cleaning and disinfecting product used by one hospital’s nursing and housekeeping departments. They then will examine the associations between the specific chemicals and respiratory symptoms in the 80 voluntary participants.