Traditional cleaning products contain chemicals that can cause short term ailments such skin, eye, lung irritation, and longer-term health problems such as occupational asthma, organ damage, or potentially cancer. Of particular concern are workers in the cleaning profession who are exposed almost daily thru breathing fumes and skin contact with these products.
According to Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s SENSOR Work-Related Asthma surveillance project, indoor air pollutants (21%) and cleaning products (17%) accounted for the most frequently reported cases of occupational asthma between 1993 and 2002. Cleaning product ingredients reported in on-the-job asthma cases included irritants such as acids, ammonia or bleach; and disinfectants such as formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, and quaternary ammonia compounds.
Other products used by janitorial staff such as floor strippers also impact indoor air quality and are hazardous to workers.