A study by Imperial College London and funded by Asthma UK suggests that adult onset asthma could be occupationally related. A sample showed that one in six of those who came of working age in the 1970s and who took up roles involving cleaning products developed the condition by age 45.
However, the British Cleaning Council is confident that these are historical results only, and that advances in dosing technology, the use of less potent chemicals, and clearer usage guidelines have resulted in a much reduced exposure to chemicals.
Andrew Large, secretary general of the BCC, said: “The BCC welcomes this research as it confirms that changes made in the cleaning industry over the last few decades were necessary and the right thing to do. We look forward to further research into how new practices have impacted and we would expect to see a significant reduction in adult onset asthma related to cleaning. It is crucial that those industries where the use of cleaning products is an aspect, such as hairdressing, give proper training. Simple changes such as spraying product onto a cloth rather than directly on to a surface can make a huge difference in chemical exposure. Awareness is paramount in reducing health risks.”