Recent studies have shown a compelling link between bleach and the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The use of this cleaning compound has been determined to increase the risk of developing COPD by as much as 32 percent. Studies and research have focused on professions where people come in contact with these chemicals routinely. These professions included nursing as well as custodial jobs. Routine occupational exposure to bleach and other cleaning agents were linked to the development of COPD over time.
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an umbrella term that includes a variety of different illnesses that block the flow of air from the lungs and create problems with breathing. COPD includes disorders like bronchitis which can be a chronic condition. Other conditions that may fall under this umbrella include asthma, Emphysema, and Bronchiectasis. However, there are more.
Unfortunately, COPD is the third leading cause of death among people in the US. In fact, 15.7 million people in the US currently suffer from this disorder.
The Impact of Poor Air quality on the Development of COPD
Poor air quality only exacerbates existing respiratory disorders. In fact, gases from bleach and other cleaning agents only worsen asthma and other lung disorders. When some gases mix formaldehyde is formed and it’s toxic. Other toxic gases that are created when fumes from different cleaning agents mix are ozone and other toxic particles. These gases can be life-threatening.
How Does Bleach Raise the Risk of Contracting COPD?
Many cleaners, namely bleach, release VOC’s into the air which are extremely unhealthy for us to breathe. VOC’s are volatile organic compounds. When these harmful compounds are released into the air they contribute to headaches, allergies, and chronic breathing problems.
On a more serious note, bleach and other cleaners have been linked to problems with occupational asthma and other issues. One of the problems with bleach and other cleaning supplies is the harm that occurs when many of the fumes come in contact with ozone from indoor sources which can come from other cleaning supplies. The combination of gases can produce harmful fumes.
Those Most Affected
Many of the studies conducted on the impact of bleach on COPD have focused on people within certain professions. One of the largest studies ever conducted followed over 55,000 nurses for an 8 year period of time. All nurses that took part in this study had no sign of COPD at the beginning of the study. The study took place between 2009 and 2017. The disinfectants and cleaning supplies they came in contact with were assessed. Bleach was included in this study.
Most of the nurses came in contact with bleach at least once a week. At the conclusion of the study, the prevalence of COPD increased between 22 and 32 percent. Other interrupting agents were factored into the results to produce accurate statistics. The study revealed that nurses that came in contact with cleaning supplies at least once a week had a 22 percent chance of contracting COPD over time. The risk intensified based on the frequency of use and the types of chemicals used.
Stem Cell Treatment as a Possible Solution
There is no cure for COPD, which often makes this progressive disorder difficult for those that have more severe lung conditions. The conditions of this lung disease can range from light to severe. However, stem cell therapy for COPD has produced some light at the end of the tunnel and may be a solution for some who suffer from this disorder. Stem cell treatment has the ability to prevent further damage and improve symptoms in those that suffer from this disorder.
Stem cells from the body of the person suffering from the disorder are used as a therapy to help reduce the symptoms and discomfort associated with COPD. In fact, a pilot report from the Lung Institute revealed that 82 percent of patients that received stem cell therapy for the treatment of COPD showed improvements in the severity of their symptoms.
The Philosophy Behind Stem Cell Treatment
Adult stem cells from the patient are exposed to the damaged tissue to encourage healing and improvement of the disorder. Although it’s not a cure for this chronic disorder, it has shown promise as an effective method to alleviate and improve the symptoms. Stem cell therapy has been proven to produce favorable results for many people who suffer from this disorder. However, in severe cases, lung transplants are sometimes necessary to improve quality of life and survival.
Under what Circumstances Does Bleach Become a Health Concern?
Most of the studies on the impact of bleach and other cleaning supplies on COPD focus on occupational exposure to the chemical. These studies focus predominantly on professions like nursing and custodial vocations. This is a fact that should be noted. Most health professions have a much higher level of exposure to bleach than the average layperson, or even those that work in professions where they aren’t exposed to bleach routinely.
More than likely, the household use of bleach wouldn’t put you at risk the way the occupational use of the chemical would. This means that the household use of bleach is probably not a big risk factor for most of us. However, there’s no question that prolonged exposure to bleach is not good for anyone. You should still exercise caution even though you probably don’t have the same risk factors as a person with an occupation that puts them in frequent contact with these chemicals.
Research does show a link between COPD and the use of bleach and other cleaning agents, for those that have occupational exposure to these chemicals. A popular study followed the health of nurses over an 8 year period of time, revealing the impact of long-term exposure. COPD is a serious disorder, in fact, it’s the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, 15.7 million people suffer from this disorder. It doesn’t have a cure, however, stem cell treatment has shown promise in terms of improving the quality of life for those that suffer from this disorder. However, the risk factors for the household use of bleach have not been studied and as a result, can’t be accurately measured.