What Every Nurse Needs to Know About Disinfectants & Health

Cleaning Product Health Risks

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been comforted, cared for and awed by a nurse’s expertise and devotion. Us too! Nurses make all the difference for so many of us every day, yet their roles in keeping us healthy can put their own health at risk. That’s why nurses work in facilities that relentlessly sanitize and disinfect. But here’s the problem, the ingredients in those disinfectants are causing some major health risks given how constantly nurses are exposed to them.

What Every Nurse Needs to Know About Disinfectants & Sanitizers

Nurses are continuously breathing in and touching disinfectant and sanitizing chemicals. After every new patient, after every piece of equipment is touched, surfaces get disinfected. Day after day after day.
Researchers began studying the health risks of chronic exposure to typical cleaning chemicals a few years ago, and the news hasn’t been good. One very large study looked at nurses over several years given their constant exposure to disinfectants. There were over 70,000 US female nurses in the study and the research showed that their risk of COPD increased by up to 38% due to chronic exposure to disinfectant chemicals like bleach and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs or Quats).

Other recent studies have shown that chronic exposure to the 3 most common categories of cleaning chemicals – bleach, quaternary ammonia compounds (quats or QACs), and fragrances – over the long term can 1) cause lung damage equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and
increase the risk that pregnant women will have children with asthma by up to 70%.

Another challenge for nurses who are around disinfectants all the time is the prevalance of asthma and allergies. Estimates are that 30% of US adults suffer from asthma or allergies, and bleach, QACs and fragrances are so unhealthy to this population that the CDC recommends not using cleaning products with any of these ingredients around this population

Besides respiratory damage,
QACs are associated with a broad range of health risks including fertility issues and birth defects.

The other major category of cleaning chemicals that nurses are exposed to are fragrance chemicals. Just about every disinfectant or sanitizer out there has a scent. The problem is that fragrance chemical safety is not regulated, which results in these worrying impacts on health:

  • Fragrance chemicals can pass through the skin and enter the blood stream. They have been classified as carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, skin and respiratory irritants.
  • Manufacturers are not required to list fragrance ingredients on product labels, so the single word “fragrance” on a label can hide a cocktail of more than 100 toxic ingredients.
  • Fragrances commonly contain phthalates which are chemicals that allow the scent to linger. Studies have shown that more than 75% of products with fragrances contain these endocrine disruptors. The Centers for Disease Control reported that phthalates can be found in the blood of most Americans, and the greatest quantities are in women. They can act like hormones in the human body, which can cause a host of health problems. For example, children with mothers exposed to phthalates during pregnancy were shown to have problems with language development and motor skills. Research on the reproductive and developmental impact of phthalates has found a link to genital malformations and undescended testes in baby boys and lower sperm counts in men.
  • A Better Option

    While bleach, QACs and fragrances are hard to avoid, we at Force of Nature do have a better option! We’ve taken an industrial technology and sized it down to fit on a regular countertop. Force of Nature uses electricity to convert tap water, plus a capsule of salt, water and vinegar, into an all-in-1 cleaning, deodorizing, sanitizing, and EPA registered medical-grade disinfecting formula. It does this by changing the molecular structure of the solution into 2 new molecules:

    We created Force of Nature to end the compromise between cleaning product performance and health. It’s a federal EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, including even Staph, MRSA, Listeria, Salmonella, Norovirus, and Pseudomonas and is on the EPA’s approved list for COVID-19 (List N). It’s rinse-free disinfecting that also kills respiratory viruses and the viruses that cause flus.

    As the only cleaning product recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation, and certified as 100% Top Allergen-Free by Mayo Clinic, our formula is a great option for keeping nurses and patients safe from sickness-causing germs.

    Force of Nature is also better for our planet’s health. It reduces plastic waste by 97% compared to typical bottled cleaning products. We’re proud to be the only Green Seal and Carbon Neutral certified EPA registered disinfectant and sanitizer.

    Learn More

    At Force of Nature, our mission is to end the compromise between cleaning and health, for people and our planet. Our appliances come in 2 sizes, Force of Nature, which makes 12 ounces at a time, and Force of Nature Pro, our system for large and high traffic spaces which makes 32 or 64 oz at a time. Both make our powerful yet gentle all-in-one formula that costs up to 80% less per ounce than the top brands. We designed Force of Nature to be budget-friendly and accessible to everyone who wants to reduce plastic waste and the health risks associated with typical cleaning products.

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