ADA, Asthma, and Allergies: How To Protect Your Staff And ClientsDid you know that a condition doesn’t have to be present every day in order to be included in ADA guidelines? Allergies and asthma are often exacerbated by triggers, showing increased symptoms at certain times, and are included under the ADA’s considerations required for a safe, healthy environment for people who suffer from these conditions. These guidelines help ensure that employers maintain an environment where their staff and clients can gain relief from interventions necessary to their health and safety.
Top 3 Things To Know About Your Business Cleaning and Disinfecting Products, Allergy & Asthma1.They Almost Certainly Contain Toxic Ingredients The cleaning product category is not well regulated when it comes to health, and manufacturers don’t need to prove their ingredients are safe for people with asthma or allergies to come into contact with. Despite such a large proportion of the population suffering from these health challenges, it is practically impossible to avoid the 3 most problematic ingredients (with one exception that we’ll get to later). People with allergies and asthma are even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of cleaning products and disinfectant ingredients. 2. They Pose SERIOUS Risk To Those With Asthma and Allergies Along with tobacco smoke, pets, dust mites, and mold, the CDC considers cleaning products to be asthma and allergy triggers. The health risks of cleaning products can be even more serious for children, where an estimated 37% of childhood asthma cases may be a result of exposure to chemicals in cleaning products. Bleach, quats, and fragrance ingredients are some of the worst offenders for inducing dangerous allergy and asthma flares, as these ingredients are particularly hard on the respiratory system. Unfortunately, these chemicals are so common that they’re almost impossible to avoid. In fact, they are part of a growing and important public health concern. Here’s what you need to know about bleach, quats, and fragrances:
- Bleach: While many people still believe bleach to be the gold standard in cleaning, we now know that the impact on people with asthma and allergies is one of many scary truths about bleach. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is a caustic substance that is a respiratory irritant and can cause serious burns to our delicate skin and eye tissue. The impacts of bleach also linger after the initial exposure. For example, some asthma sufferers continue to show reduced lung function the day after exposure to bleach.
- Quats are a class of compounds often used in cleaning products because of their antimicrobial properties. They come with serious health risks, including skin and respiratory irritation and exacerbating asthma and allergy symptoms. Quats linger on surfaces for a long time, so children and staff can be re-exposed to these chemicals even after the products have dried overnight.
- Fragrances: Fragrances often contain toxic chemicals that do not have to be disclosed by manufacturers due to a regulatory loophole (fragrances are considered “trade secrets”). As a result, hundreds of ingredients can be hidden under the term “fragrance” and almost every cleaning and disinfection product contains fragrances. In a research study among asthma sufferers, scented products triggered reactions so severe that 62.8% would be considered disabling under the ADA. Fragrances are considered hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, and asthma triggers – a concern for children because this exposure compounds over time.