Chemicals inhaled from spray cleaning and disinfection products and their respiratory effects. A comprehensive review

2020-08-15

Spray cleaning and disinfection products have been associated with adverse respiratory effects in professional cleaners and among residents doing domestic cleaning. This review combines information about use of spray products from epidemiological and clinical studies, in vivo and in vitro toxicological studies of cleaning chemicals, as well as human and field exposure studies. The most frequent chemicals in spray cleaning and disinfection products were compiled, based on registrations in the Danish Product Registry. The chemicals were divided into acids, bases, disinfectants, fragrances, organic solvents, propellants, and tensides. In addition, an assessment of selected cleaning and disinfectant chemicals in spray products was carried out. Chemicals of concern regarding respiratory effects (e.g. asthma) are corrosive chemicals such as strong acids and bases (including ammonia and hypochlorite) and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs). However, the evidence for respiratory effects after inhalation of QACs is ambiguous. Common fragrances are generally not considered to be of concern following inhalation. Solvents including glycols and glycol ethers as well as propellants are generally weak airway irritants and not expected to induce sensitization in the airways. Mixing of certain cleaning products can produce corrosive airborne chemicals. We discuss different hypotheses for the mechanisms behind the development of respiratory effects of inhalation of chemicals in cleaning agents. An integrative assessment is needed to understand how these chemicals can cause the various respiratory effects.

Authors: Per A Clausen, Marie Frederiksen, Camilla S Sejbæk, Jorid B Sørli, Karin S Hougaard, Karen B Frydendall, Tanja K Carøe, Esben M Flachs, Harald W Meyer, Vivi Schlünssen, Peder Wolkoff