Cleaning product Harmful – ours is not!

Regular exposure to cleaning products significantly affects lung function, research has suggested.

The study of 6,000 people by a team from Norway’s University of Bergen, found women appeared to be more badly affected than men.

They said cleaning chemicals were “unnecessary” and microfiber cloths and water were “enough for most purposes”.

UK experts said people should keep their homes well ventilated and use liquid cleaners instead of sprays.

The team looked at data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey.

Previous studies have looked at the short-term effect of cleaning chemicals on asthma, but this work looked at the longer term.

Prof Cecile Svanes, who led the Bergen team, said: “We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age.”

Microfiber cloths and water ‘enough’

Adults in the study, published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, were followed for more than 20 years.

Their lung function was measured by looking at how much air people could forcibly breath out – and the amount declined more over the years in women who cleaned.

The authors suggest the chemicals in cleaning products irritate the mucous membranes that line the airways of the lungs, causing long-term damage.

No difference was seen between men who cleaned and those who did not.

The researchers said that could partly be explained by there being far fewer men working as cleaners, but also suggested women might be more susceptible to the chemicals’ effects.

Oistein Svanes, who also worked on the study, said: “The take-home message is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs.

“These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes.”

Sarah MacFadyen, from the British Lung Foundation said: “Breathing in any kind of air pollution can have an impact on our health, especially for those living with a lung condition.

“This study further confirms that air pollution can come from a range of sources, including from paints, adhesives and cleaning products we use indoors.

“Ensuring we keep our homes well ventilated, using liquid cleaners instead of sprays and checking that our cookers and heaters are in good working order will help protect us and prevent everyday products impacting on our lungs.”

Cold weather this week

Cold this week, working fast to keep warm – going for gold

UK SNOW FORECAST Britain set for FOOT of heavy snow NEXT WEEK in COLDEST freeze for decade

BRITAIN is facing the most severe winter freeze for almost a decade with more than a foot of snow forecast widely as temperatures plummet to -15C (5F) within days.

City of bath

Our lovely city of Bath, is getting very grim, is no-one proud of our city anymore? Rubbish everywhere and mess.
I work as a cleaner and very proud of my work and love cleaning, our council Banes should be too.

Why Swedish ‘death cleaning’ is the new hygge

Why Swedish ‘death cleaning’ is the new hygge

■ Rachel Connor, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Leeds Beckett University

THERE has been a trend in recent years, both in literature and in life, for Scandinavian concepts that are encapsulated in a single word. Hygge, for example — which is Danish for cosiness, contentment or well-being — dominated the publishing industry in 2016.

Now, the new buzzword on the block is ‘dostadning’ — a hybrid of the Swedish words ‘death’ and ‘cleaning’. How much these fad words are actually a part of Scandinavian culture is debatable, but dostadning is the new phenomenon outlined in Margareta Magnusson’s The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning. In Europe, the book has already occupied a good deal of reviewing space, and according to Time magazine dostadning will be the hot new trend stateside in 2018.

Magnusson’s book chimes with the current anxiety about clutter in the 21st century. Dostadning advocates the proactive and mindful clearing out of possessions before death. The idea is that it saves relatives the onerous task of making decisions about what to keep and what to throw or give away. The book reflects the simple fact that we are all living longer lives. This results, of course, in more stuff.

Digital death

But it also means we have more time to get rid of things. We can start planning for our death by slimming down what we leave behind — shedding unnecessary objects in favour of what we actually need. It is the antithesis, perhaps, of the ancient Egyptian tradition of being buried with things that might accompany us into the afterlife.

Magnusson’s top tips for dostadning focus mostly on material possessions — though she suggests keeping a book of passwords for family so they can access online data more easily. But this is no straightforward task, given that more and more of our data — photos, letters, memories — as well as actual things — music and books — exist in digital rather than analogue form. And as more of our lives are logged and lodged virtually, chances are our relatives might not be able to access this.