Almost 91 per cent of doctors link acids used as toilet cleaners with respiratory and other health problem, states a survey by Indian Medical Academy. "Long-term exposure of acid fumes, even for a short time (10-15 minutes), could lead to serious respiratory problems including asthma and bronchitis, pulmonary edema, nasal ulceration and other complications like bluish coloration of lips and fingernails and kidney damage," said Dr Preetiash Kaul, senior consultant, Indian Medical Academy.
The survey included 2,250 families across Delhi, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
Interestingly, the two-fold survey, conducted amongst consumers at one end and doctors on the other, revealed some striking facts around usage of toilet cleaners. Around 91% doctors said that people who use acids as toilet cleaners face some or other immediate health hazards like breathlessness, coughing and eye irritation. 51% respondents said that they experience breathlessness while 31% said they face watery eyes. Further, 18 per cent said that they feel skin irritation, 23 per cent experience burning sensation while other 8 per cent suffer other problems.
Dr Jalil Parker, chest physician at Lilavati Hospital, said, "These acids used for cleaning toilet and tiles generate fume which when inhaled interact with the cilia of the nasal mucousa. It kills the mucous lininf of the pharynx, trachea. The fumes are irritant and corrosive in nature and repetitive inhalation of these fumes can lead to chemical pneumonia. The prolonged inhalation can lead to loss in the sponginess of the lungs.
Loss of sponginess in the lung is irreversible process and can lead to an ailment called restricted airway disease."