A survey conducted by Indian Medical Academy
states that almost 91 percent of doctors link acids used as toilet
cleaners with respiratory and other health problems.
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.
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 mucousa.
"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.