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Occupational Exposures to Cleaning Products and Work-Related Asthma

EMSL Analytical provides indoor environmental quality testing services to identify pollutants known to cause or trigger asthma in the workplace.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Work-related asthma, also known as occupational asthma, results from exposure to allergens or irritants on the job. Exposure to these substances can lead to new cases of asthma or worsen existing asthma in some people. Common exposures associated with work-related asthma include contact with various chemicals, dust, mold, animals and plants. Asthma symptoms may start at work or within several hours after leaving work and may occur with no clear pattern.

Exposures to cleaning products and disinfectants at work have been linked to work-related asthma. In fact, the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has published information on this important topic for employers and employees. The agency’s Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program reports that it found that nearly 10% of all work-related asthma cases were caused by exposure to cleaning products. Most of these cases involved asthma that started only after they began work. About one in five people (almost 20%) used cleaning products directly, such as janitors. The other 80% of workers attributed their asthma symptoms to cleaning products used nearby.

“Regarding disinfectants and sanitizers, the agency reports that some ingredients found in these products can trigger work-related asthma in addition to also causing new asthma cases,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “They suggest avoiding certain ingredients, like bleach (sodium hypochlorite), quaternary ammonium compounds (benzalkonium chlorides), and glutaraldehyde that can cause asthma.”

Occupational asthma reduces productivity and impacts people’s quality of life. Some workers can even become too disabled to work, while others may have to change jobs to avoid the substance that caused their asthma. Unless occupational asthma is caught and managed early, it will often continue and get worse. To help prevent work-related asthma, EMSL offers a wide range of environmental testing services to identify both chemical and microbial respiratory irritants and known asthma triggers.

EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about work-related asthma and exposures to cleaning products and disinfectants that can be seen at:

To learn more about this or other indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, microbial and environmental testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email . To view the complete line of EMSL’s indoor environmental test kits, visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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