Occupational Asthma and Respiratory Symptoms in Healthcare Cleaners
PHE ePoster Library. Gyte A. Sep 12, 2017; 186525; 35
Dr. Amy Gyte
Dr. Amy Gyte
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Abstract Background Published literature has consistently shown that certain types of cleaning work are associated with an increased prevalence of asthma and/or respiratory symptoms, both new disease cases and exacerbation of pre-existing cases. An excess of respiratory symptoms in healthcare workers and domestic cleaners in particular, have been reported. The use of chemicals, such as chlorine/bleach, and spray application of cleaning products, has been linked to eliciting or exacerbating respiratory symptoms.Research Aims Chlorine-based products are extensively used in the GB healthcare sector by cleaners and nurses. This research aims to investigate use in relation to concerns about respiratory health; how they are used within healthcare settings, the cleaning techniques employed and any barriers or constraints to ways of working safely with chlorine disinfectants.Methods This research is a collaborative project led by HSE working with a steering group comprised a large network of infection control experts, hospital housekeepers, contract cleaners, cleaning product manufacturers, trade unions and industry bodies. These are providing access to healthcare sites for this research to be undertaken.Laboratory-based experiments have been undertaken to examine common use and misuse of chlorine-based products and to measure the release of substances potentially harmful to on the lung, such as chloramines. These experiments will inform the way that exposure measurements are undertaken when chlorine-based disinfectants are used in healthcare settings.It is anticipated that this research will raise the profile of occupational respiratory health in the cleaning profession, and the outcomes will inform better working practice and training of cleaners.
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