Cleaning Products

Consumer Based Cleaning Product Exposure

People using cleaning and disinfection products face higher risks of developing asthma, compared to the overall working population. Individuals whose jobs involve frequent use of these products such as professional cleaners and healthcare workers experience higher levels of exposure, are especially vulnerable. There are nearly 1 million individuals in the U.S. working as maids and housekeeping cleaners (BLS, 2017).

Despite epidemiological evidence of a link between cleaning product use and asthma, that potentially impacts a significant population of workers, data related to these exposures needed to conduct robust exposure assessments are very limited. These exposure assessments are essential to the risk assessment and risk management processes. In the absence of direct measurement data, exposure models are the tools of choice for estimating exposures. The most reliable results are obtained when appropriate models are used and the data needed to define the values of the model inputs are available.

ESSI's Impact:

We conducted an exposure study to support risk assessment of use of an all-purpose cleaner. In this research, we conducted lab-based and field-based experiments to estimate and evaluate an emission rate for a chemical (acetic acid) that was likely to evaporate from a consumer-based cleaning product. The outcome was an emission rate that captures the change with time, as more cleaner is applied to a surface. Field evaluation showed that when the emission rate was used to model exposure to acetic acid, the results were comparable to exposure measurements.

Student Involvement:

Two masters students gained hands-on lab and field experience through this project and one of the students contributed to a peer-reviewed publication of this work.

Knowledge Transfer:

Arnold, S.F., Kaup, H., Servadio, J., Ramachandran, G. “Estimating the evaporation rate and time-varying generation rate of acetic acid from an All-Purpose Floor Cleaner” Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41370-019-0142-5


“Estimating the Evaporation Rate and Time-varying Generation Rate of Acetic Acid from an All-Purpose Floor Cleaner” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology March 13, 2019, Baltimore, MD