24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
AHA News: How Bacteria in Your Gut Interact With the Mind and BodyMusic Might Help Soothe Ailing HeartsCould an Injected Electrode Control Your Pain Without Drugs?100,000 Dead, 40 Million Unemployed: America Hits Grim Pandemic MilestonesFDA Approves IV Artesunate for Severe Malaria'Silent' COVID-19 More Widespread Than ThoughtDrug Combos May Be Advance Against Heart FailurePollen Fragments Linger After Rains, Leaving Allergy Sufferers MiserableA New Hip or Knee Can Do a Marriage Good, Study FindsOnly Half of Americans Say They'd Get a Coronavirus Vaccine: SurveyAlzheimer's Gene Linked to Severe COVID-19 RiskCoronavirus Cases Ticking Upwards in Nearly a Dozen U.S. StatesLockdown Got You Down? Experts Offer Tips to De-StressCould a Hormone Help Spur High Blood Pressure?Nursing Homes Are Ground Zero for COVID-19Getting Back to Work Safely After LockdownRemdesivir Will Not Be Enough to Curb COVID-19, Study FindsOutdoor Swimming Pools Not a COVID-19 Risk: ExpertStrokes Are Deadlier When They Hit COVID-19 PatientsAHA News: How to Accurately Measure Blood Pressure at HomeU.S. Earmarks $1.2 Billion for New Vaccine Deal as Coronavirus Deaths Near 95,000During the Pandemic, How Safe Is the Great American Summer Vacation?COVID-19 Damages Lungs Differently From the Flu: StudyMore Evidence Hydroxychloroquine Won't Help, May Harm COVID-19 PatientsYour Sleep Habits May Worsen Your AsthmaExtra Pounds Could Bring More Painful JointsCOVID Can Complicate Pregnancy, Especially If Mom Is ObeseWHO Predicts COVID-19 Will Take Heavy Toll in AfricaCombining Remdesivir With Other Meds Could Boost COVID-Fighting PowerMultiple Sclerosis Ups Odds for Heart Trouble, StrokeAHA News: Not Wanting to Burden Busy Hospitals, She Disregarded Heart Attack SignsExperimental Vaccines Shield Monkeys From CoronavirusHeart Attack Cases at ERs Fall by Half – Are COVID Fears to Blame?Asthma Ups Ventilator Needs of Younger Adults With COVID-19: Study1 in 5 Hospitalized NYC COVID-19 Patients Needed ICU CareObesity Ups Odds for Dangerous Lung Clots in COVID-19 PatientsDoes 6 Feet Provide Enough COVID Protection?COVID-19 Antibodies May Tame Inflammatory Condition in Kids: StudyAs Americans Return to Work, How Will COVID Change the Workplace?COVID and Hypochondria: Online Therapy May Help Ease FearsAHA News: Is High Blood Pressure Inevitable?People Mount Strong Immune Responses to Coronavirus, Boding Well for a VaccineProms Gone, Graduations Online: Pandemic Cancels Kids' Rites of PassageDon't Delay If Cancer Symptoms Appear – Call Your DoctorPulmonary Rehab Can Help People With COPD, So Why Do So Few Get It?COVID-19 Will Delay 28 Million Elective Surgeries Worldwide: StudyMost U.S. States Reopening as Coronavirus Cases DeclineRate of New U.S. Coronavirus Cases Is DecliningCould Certain Chemicals Trigger Celiac Disease?Poor Americans Likely to Miss Preventive Heart Screenings: Study
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Are Disinfectants Putting Nurses at Risk of COPD?

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 18th 2019

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Oct. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses trying to prevent infection of hospital patients could be putting themselves at risk of developing chronic lung disease, a new study warns.

The cleaners and disinfectants used to sterilize medical equipment and wash hospital surfaces appear to increase nurses' odds of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to findings published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Network Open.

The study shows that nurses' health could be threatened by workplace exposure to these chemicals, said Dr. Wayne Tsuang, a Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist.

"Equipment needs to be cleaned for good patient care, but at the same time we need to make sure health care workers are protected," he said, commenting on the findings.

For the new study, researchers tapped into data from an ongoing study of more than 116,000 female registered nurses in 14 states that dates back to 1989.

This new study focused on women who were still nurses and had no lung ailments in 2009. The researchers then tracked their workplace history and lung health from 2009 through 2015, using questionnaires that the nurses filled out every other year.

People with COPD gradually lose their ability to draw a decent breath. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause, but COPD also can be caused by regular workplace exposure to lung irritants, like dust and chemical fumes.

Lead study author Orianne Dumas said, "We found that exposure to several chemicals were associated with increased risk of developing COPD among nurses." Dumas is a researcher with Inserm, a public scientific institute operated by the French Ministries of Health and Research.

The chemicals included glutaraldehyde and hydrogen peroxide, which are high-level disinfectants mainly used for medical instruments, Dumas said. Nurses also were regularly exposed to fumes from bleach, alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds, which are mainly used to disinfect surfaces like floors and furniture.

All of these chemicals are known irritants of human airways, and could lead to development of COPD, Dumas said. However, the researchers only found an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, in this study.

Dr. Abhishek Chakraborti is a pulmonologist at Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center in New York City, who studies COPD. He said, "These types of chemicals have been tied to other illnesses, some having a link to causing lung cancer."

Nurses were between 25% and 36% more likely to develop COPD based on exposure to these cleaning products, even after accounting for whether they were smokers or suffered from asthma, the researchers found.

Weekly use of disinfectants to clean hospital surfaces appeared to increase COPD risk by 38%, the findings showed, while weekly use of the chemicals to clean medical instruments increased risk by 31%.

More study is needed to figure out how these cleaning products might cause COPD, and whether they increase the risk of lung disease for people in other professions -- or even in ordinary households that use products like bleach for cleaning, Dumas said.

In the meantime, hospitals could protect nurses' health by adopting potentially safer alternatives, she suggested. These include using steam or ultraviolet light to disinfect medical equipment and hospital surfaces, or switching to "green" cleaning products that don't emit harmful fumes.

According to Tsuang, "It's probably going to take a team approach to both reduce the exposure of nurses to these chemicals while also ensuring for patients' safety that medical equipment is adequately clean to reduce the spread of infections at a hospital."

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about COPD.