In the news: Can cleaning products soil nurses’ health?

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, January 26, 2009

Environmentally friendly people around the globe have gone green to protect the planet. Is it time your facility went green to protect you?

A recent study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine conducted among 3,650 Texas healthcare professionals, including 941 nurses, found that recurrent exposure to hospital cleaning products and disinfectants significantly raises nurses' risk of asthma.

Researchers found nurses frequently exposed to certain topical cleansers and antiseptics used to cleanse patients' skin, glutaraldehyde that sterilizes medical instruments, and even general all-purpose cleaning products were 72% more likely than other healthcare workers to report being diagnosed with asthma since becoming employed. Nurses were also 52% more likely to report asthma-like symptoms.

The study's authors noted that products commonly used by nurses in the study were potentially strong respiratory irritants or sensitizers and suggested the use of "environmentally friendly green chemicals" and proper personal care protection could lessen nurses' exposure to the cleaning agents.

Source: The Washington Post


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