Dr Preetiash Kaul, senior consultant of the
Academy, said that long-term exposure of acid fumes, even for a short
time (10-15 minutes), could lead to severe respiratory problems
including asthma and bronchitis, pulmonary edema, nasal ulceration
and other health difficulties like bluish coloration of lips and
fingernails and kidney damage.
The survey was carried out in six major cities of
Delhi, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Jaipur across
2,250 families. The study included 300 families from Delhi.
Interestingly, the two-fold survey, carried out
amongst consumers at one end and doctors on the other, disclosed some
significant facts around usage of toilet cleaners.
Around 91 percent of doctors said that people who
use acids as toilet cleaners experience some or other immediate
health hazards like breathlessness, coughing and eye irritation. 51
percent respondents said that they experience breathlessness while 31
percent said they face watery eyes. Further, 18 percent said that
they suffer skin irritation, 23 percent experience burning sensation
while other 8 percent endure other problems.
Dr Jalil Parker, chest physician at Lilavati
Hospital, explained that the acids used for cleaning toilet and tiles
generate fume which when inhaled interact with the cilia of the nasal
"It kills the mucous lininf of the pharynx,
trachea. The fumes are irritant and corrosive in nature and
repetitive inhalation of these fumes can lead to chemical pneumonia.
The prolonged inhalation can lead to loss in the sponginess of the
lungs," the physician added.
Dr Jalil further stated that loss of sponginess in
the lung is irreversible process and can lead to an ailment called -
restricted airway disease.