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Increased risk of heart problems following long-term use of cleaning products

Researchers have found that long-term use of household sprays and scented products is associated with reduced heart rate variability in older women, which suggests an increased risk of cardiovascular health hazards.

The scientists, from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Basel University, along with collaborators from the US, France and Spain, measured the heart activity of 581 women over 50 years old and compared this with information on their use of household cleaning products collected via questionnaires.

The results showed that frequent use of all product types was associated with decreases in two markers of heart rate variability, with the strongest reductions associated with use of air freshening sprays. Compared with unexposed participants, using air freshening sprays most often, between four and seven days per week, was associated with a more than 10% decrease in both measures. In addition, greater effects were seen in participants with obstructive lung disease, leading the researchers to conclude that people with preexisting pulmonary conditions may be more susceptible.

The study is published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

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