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Cleaning at Home and at Work in Relation to Lung Function Decline and Airway Obstruction.

  • Svanes, Øistein1, 2
  • Bertelsen, Randi J1
  • Lygre, Stein H L2
  • Carsin, Anne E3, 4, 5
  • Antó, Josep M3
  • Forsberg, Bertil6
  • García-García, José M7
  • Gullón, José A7
  • Heinrich, Joachim8
  • Holm, Mathias9
  • Kogevinas, Manolis3
  • Urrutia, Isabel10
  • Leynaert, Bénédicte11, 12
  • Moratalla, Jesús M13
  • Le Moual, Nicole14, 15
  • Lytras, Theodore3, 16
  • Norbäck, Dan17
  • Nowak, Dennis8
  • Olivieri, Mario18
  • Pin, Isabelle19
  • And 8 more
  • 1 1 Department of Clinical Science, and.
  • 2 2 Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. , (Norway)
  • 3 3 ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 4 4 Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 5 5 Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 6 6 Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 7 7 Pneumology Department, University Hospital San Agustín, Avilés, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 8 8 Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Clinic Center, Ludwig Maximillian University, Comprehensive Pneumology Centre Munich, German Centre for Lung Research, Muenchen, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 9 9 Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 10 10 Pulmonology Department, Galdakao Hospital, Galdakao, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 11 11 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U1152, Pathophysiology and Epidemiology of Respiratory Diseases, Paris, France. , (France)
  • 12 12 Unité mixte de recherche 1152, Université Paris Diderot Paris7, Paris, France. , (France)
  • 13 13 Servicio de Numología, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Albacete, Albacete, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 14 14 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U1168, Aging and Chronic Diseases, Epidemiological and Public Health Approaches, F-94807, Villejuif, France. , (France)
  • 15 15 Université Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Unité mixte de recherche-S 1168, Yvelines, France. , (France)
  • 16 16 Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 17 17 Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 18 18 University Hospital of Verona, Verona, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 19 19 Pneumologie Pédiatrique, Antenne Pédiatrique du Centres d'Investigation Clinique Grenoble, France. , (France)
  • 20 20 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 21 21 Department Public Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 22 22 Department of Public Health, Danish Ramazzini Center, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. , (Denmark)
  • 23 23 National Research Center for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark. , (Denmark)
  • 24 24 Unit of Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy; and. , (Italy)
  • 25 25 National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 26 26 Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. , (Norway)
Published Article
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
American Thoracic Society
Publication Date
May 01, 2018
DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201706-1311OC
PMID: 29451393


Cleaning tasks may imply exposure to chemical agents with potential harmful effects to the respiratory system, and increased risk of asthma and respiratory symptoms among professional cleaners and in persons cleaning at home has been reported. Long-term consequences of cleaning agents on respiratory health are, however, not well described. This study aimed to investigate long-term effects of occupational cleaning and cleaning at home on lung function decline and airway obstruction. The European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) investigated a multicenter population-based cohort at three time points over 20 years. A total of 6,235 participants with at least one lung function measurement from 22 study centers, who in ECRHS II responded to questionnaire modules concerning cleaning activities between ECRHS I and ECRHS II, were included. The data were analyzed with mixed linear models adjusting for potential confounders. As compared with women not engaged in cleaning (ΔFEV1 = -18.5 ml/yr), FEV1 declined more rapidly in women responsible for cleaning at home (-22.1; P = 0.01) and occupational cleaners (-22.4; P = 0.03). The same was found for decline in FVC (ΔFVC = -8.8 ml/yr; -13.1, P = 0.02; and -15.9, P = 0.002; respectively). Both cleaning sprays and other cleaning agents were associated with accelerated FEV1 decline (-22.0, P = 0.04; and -22.9, P = 0.004; respectively). Cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men or with FEV1/FVC decline or airway obstruction. Women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners had accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposures related to cleaning activities may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health.

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