The type of cleaning services and products used in an enclosed environment can alleviate symptoms suffered by those with asthma or, in extreme cases, actually induce asthma in someone who was not born with it.
Green Cleaning Services to Reduce Asthma Symptoms and Attacks
Indoor air quality is a constant challenge facing people living with asthma, who’s symptoms are regularly triggered by the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and exacerbated by toxic fumes emitted from consumer and commercial cleaning solvents.
With prolonged exposure to certain chemicals in the ‘right’ environment, people born without any health issues can develop lifelong asthma problems.
Where relocating or restructuring one’s environment to eliminate sources of toxic exposure may be cost-prohibitive, the reduction or elimination of chemicals released into the environment is typically a matter of proper education and conscientious product purchasing.
With a small, but easily returnable financial investment, combined with a knowledgeable vendor partnership, any facility can make significant strides to relieve or eliminate the often terrifying and life-threatening symptoms suffered by individuals with asthma.
Asthma and Air Pollution in the San Joaquin Valley
Asthma and air pollution go hand-in-hand and, due to decreasing air quality, combined with poor building design and cleaning product purchasing guidelines, the problem is only getting worse.
A report published by the California EPA Air Resources Board stated;
[sic]…in California 13.1% of adults and 12.5% of children, collectively about 5 million people, reported that they had ever been diagnosed with asthma.
In addition, nearly 692,000 California children reported experiencing current asthma symptoms.
Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution is worse than outdoor and, given we spend approximately 90% of our lives inside, it’s far past time we started taking indoor air quality seriously.
According to some estimates:
- “[I]ndoor environment [are] two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment, and in some cases, the air measurements indoors have been found to be 100 times more polluted.”
- “80% of all cancers are attributed to environmental rather than genetic factors, including exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, many of which are found in household cleaning products,” and;
- “[A]lmost 3% of the global burden of disease is due to indoor air pollution.”
For More Information:
Limonene + Ozone = Formaldehyde
Limonene and D-Limonene are volatile organic chemicals commonly found in many consumer and commercial grade cleaning solvents.
By themselves, they pose relatively little risk to humans, except after significant and prolonged exposure.
However, the combination of elevated levels of indoor ozone due to poor ventilation, as well as other factors related to cleaning, combined with either chemical, has been shown to trigger a reaction that can negatively affect indoor air quality, and potentially create formaldehyde.
According to research performed by the Department of Environmental Health, East Tennessee State University;
Reactions between ozone and certain volatile organic compounds such as limonene (a common ingredient of many consumer products) occurring on the surface of ventilation filters could impact indoor air quality if products are released in significant amounts.
Additional research compiled by the University of California, Berkeley concluded that;
Formaldehyde can also form when chemicals from cleaners and sanitizers, such as d-limonene, react with ozone and other compounds in the air.
For More Information:
Formaldehyde, Asthma, and RADS
Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde has multiple negative health implications.
According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry;
The major concerns of repeated formaldehyde exposure are sensitization and cancer.
In sensitized persons, formaldehyde can cause asthma and contact dermatitis.
Additionally, even small levels of respiratory exposure over a short period can induce acute, though temporary, asthma symptoms, commonly referred to as Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS).
Children are most susceptible to RADS.
Children may be more vulnerable to corrosive agents than adults because of the relatively smaller diameter of their airways.
Children may be more vulnerable because of relatively increased minute ventilation per kg and failure to evacuate an area promptly when exposed.
Green Cleaning Tips
The first step is to eliminate the source of all indoor air pollutants.
- Clean all floors and rugs daily with a HEPA filtered vacuum.
- Carpets and upholstery, especially new furniture, are significant sources of VOCs and should be professionally cleaned every three months.
- Check the labels on your cleaning products and eliminate the use of all solvents with chemicals known to cause any respiratory inflammation. Better yet, dump the toxic chemical cleaners and switch to Green Seal approved alternatives.
Due to poorly conceived attempts in the 1980’s to reduce energy consumption, homes and offices were designed to eliminate air flow between the inside and outside of buildings, as well as reducing the amount of air flow coming through internal HVAC ventilation systems.
- Where possible, open doors and windows to allow indoor air pollutants to escape outside.
- Use window and bathroom exhaust fans to improve the circulation of indoor air.
- Install HEPA filtered vents and air purifiers throughout the home, classroom or office.
- Place live plants throughout the enclosed spaces to naturally absorb airborne toxins.
- Have your air ducts professionally cleaned at least yearly. Twice a year, between summer and fall, and after winter is recommended.
References & Resources
- The Asthma & Allergy Green Guide to Relief
- The Air We Breathe – Green Cleaning Reduces Risk for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers
- Home Cleaning to Reduce Asthma and Allergy Symptoms
- Allergies & Asthma
- Spring Cleaning for Allergy Sufferers
Asthma is a serious medical condition that affects the livelihood and well-being of an estimated 1 out of 8 people in California.
The financial and educational ramifications for businesses and schools is enormous, and the burden on the healthcare system is preventable with well laid out purchasing guidelines and cleaning practices.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of green cleaning services for your school or business, or more information on how to cost-effectively reduce or eliminate common triggers for asthma sufferers, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 395-3009
In Fresno CA, call (559) 473-1790