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Inhaling cleaning products may raise risks for chronic lung diseases by up to 38 percent, a new study suggests.
Cleaning supplies such as alcohol, peroxide and bleach are common in most households and key to killing germs, especially in hospitals, where nurses must keep spaces sanitary for the sake of their patients' safety.
Chemicals - Surfaces - Lung - Tissue
But the harsh chemicals are meant for sterilizing surfaces and frequently breathing them can be damaging to the lung tissue.
The latest - and largest - study to-date, conducted by researchers at the University de Versailles and Harvard University found that nurses who spent years around the chemicals face higher risks for the group of lung conditions known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD - Catchall - Name - Handful - Diseases
COPD, a catchall name for a handful of diseases, most commonly chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is mostly thought of a smoker's disease.
About 16 million people in the US suffer COPD, which makes breathing difficult.
Lung - Respiratory - Conditions - COPD - Cause
Alongside other other lung and respiratory conditions, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the US.
The best way to reduce risks for COPD is to never smoke, or quit if you've started.
Everything - Affects - Lung - Airway - Health
But everything we breathe in affects our lung and airway health.
Many cleaning supplies contain chemicals known as VOCs, or volatile organic compounds.
Substances - Eyes - Throat - Lungs - Headaches
These substances are corrosive, irritating the eyes, throat and lungs, as well as causing headaches.
But it's not just the immediate burning and headaches from using too much bleach or Windex - repeated exposures may do long-term harm.
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