Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Respiratory Risk From Hospital Cleaning Fluids

Date:
April 1, 2009
Source:
Environmental Health
Summary:
Cleaning fluids used in hospitals may pose a health risk to both staff and patients. A pilot study published in the journal Environmental Health has found that potentially hazardous chemicals are contained in a selection of agents used in several different hospitals.

Cleaning fluids used in hospitals may pose a health risk to both staff and patients. A pilot study has found that potentially hazardous chemicals are contained in a selection of agents used in several different hospitals.

The study was conducted at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Sustainable Hospitals Program and led by Anila Bello. Other team members were Margaret Quinn and Don Milton, also from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Melissa Perry, from the Harvard School of Public Health. They investigated the cleaning materials and techniques used in six Massachusetts hospitals. Bello said, "Cleaning products may impact worker, and possibly patient, health through air and skin exposures. Because the severity of cleaning exposures is affected by both product formulation and cleaning technique, a combination of product evaluation and workplace exposure data is needed to develop strategies that protect people from cleaning hazards."

Cleaning products are complex mixtures of many chemicals including disinfectants, surfactants, solvents, and fragrances. These ingredients are representative of different chemical classes and have a very wide range of volatilities and other chemical properties. According to Bello, "The ingredients of concern identified in our study included quaternary ammonium chlorides or "quats" that can cause skin and respiratory irritation. Some products contained irritant glycol ethers that can be absorbed through the skin, as well as ethanolamine – another respiratory and dermatological irritant. We also found several alcohols such as benzyl alcohol, ammonia and several phenols, all of which can exert harmful effects on the body".

As well as the composition of cleaning agents, the authors found that the way the products were used affected exposure levels. Some tasks were associated with higher exposures than others; the most hazardous exposure scenarios occur when several cleaning tasks are performed in small and poorly ventilated spaces, such as bathrooms.

The authors conclude, "Hazardous exposures related to cleaning products are an important public health concern because these exposures may impact not only cleaning workers, but also other occupants in the building".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Environmental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anila Bello, Margaret M. Quinn, Melissa J. Perry and Donald K. Milton. Characterization of occupational exposures to cleaning products used for common cleaning tasks-a pilot study of hospital cleaners. Environmental Health, (in press)

Cite This Page:

Environmental Health. "Respiratory Risk From Hospital Cleaning Fluids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326215056.htm>.
Environmental Health. (2009, April 1). Respiratory Risk From Hospital Cleaning Fluids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326215056.htm
Environmental Health. "Respiratory Risk From Hospital Cleaning Fluids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326215056.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins