Cleaning fluids used in hospitals might put patients at an increased risk developing respiratory problems, according to a new study.
In the study, the research team led by Anila Bello from University of Massachusetts Lowell Sustainable Hospitals Program found potentially hazardous chemicals in the agents including disinfectants, surfactants, solvents, and fragrances used in several different hospitals. Cleaning products may impact worker, and possibly patient, health through air and skin exposures," said Bello.
"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," she added.
According to Bello, the ingredients of concern identified in the study included quaternary ammonium chlorides or "quats" that can cause skin and respiratory irritation.
Some products also contain irritant glycol ethers that can be absorbed through the skin, as well as ethanolamine - another respiratory and dermatological irritant.
The authors said, "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."
The study is published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health.