The Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) was advised by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)to update the Occupational and Inhalation Exposure Program to include professional and domestic cleaning workers who are at risk of exposure to cleaning products and asbestos-containing cosmetics. The group recommended that broader considerations be included regarding the investigation of chemicals that can cause respiratory harm, including exposures to professional and domestic cleaning workers. The additional considerations the EWG has asked to be added into the program are related to the unique exposure risk children face in cleaning products and asbestos in talc-based cosmetics.
A meta-analysis study conducted in 2020 observed that workers in the professional cleaning industry have a 50% increased risk of developing asthma, and a 43% increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Epidemiologic studies have found there is a higher risk for professional cleaners to develop multiple adverse respiratory outcomes, in addition to asthma and other asthma-like symptoms and the decline of lung functions. Given that it is still unknown what the full list of harmful chemicals that affect respiratory abilities are, the group supports NTP’s current focus on alpha-pinene and related monoterpenes, PFAS, alkylbenzenes and mixed xylenes. EWG has also asked that the investigation of chemicals be expanded to ensure a better understanding of the totality of chemical exposures from cleaning products in occupational and general settings.
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