7 household items that may harm the lungs and worsen COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung condition that significantly impacts one’s quality of life, particularly affecting breathing. Individuals often struggle with limited airflow, persistent coughing, and shortness of breath. While many factors may contribute to COPD flares, certain household products are lesser-known contributors. These products can release harmful chemicals, causing airway inflammation in individuals with compromised lung function. Here are seven household products that patients with COPD must avoid.

Bleach and ammonia-based cleaners
Known for their disinfectant properties, these products release strong and potentially harmful fumes when they come into contact with surfaces and the air. The inhalation of these fumes can lead to immediate respiratory irritation, triggering coughing and exacerbating COPD symptoms. These products can include oven cleaners, rug cleaners, and more.

Spray and floor cleaners
Many window cleaners and all-purpose sprays may be convenient, but they contain fine mist and chemical disinfectants that can exacerbate COPD or asthma. Similarly, floor cleaning products often contain a mix of chemicals and fragrances that can risk lung health. Individuals with COPD should consider using low-VOC or fragrance-free cleaners and ensure proper drying and ventilation after cleaning.

Perfumes often contain a mixture of chemicals, including VOCs, that create their pleasant scent. However, for individuals with COPD, inhaling perfume particles can lead to respiratory irritation and may trigger or worsen COPD symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Air fresheners and candles
While air fresheners and scented candles can make a home smell pleasant, they often emit VOCs like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and more that can harm the lungs. These particles can irritate the airways and trigger COPD symptoms.

Paints and solvents
Painting at home or working on DIY projects may expose one to fumes from paints, varnishes, and solvents. These fumes can irritate the lungs, and long-term exposure can worsen COPD symptoms.

Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces
Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces emit particulate matter and toxic fumes that can worsen respiratory symptoms. Proper maintenance and ventilation are critical when using these heating sources.

Pesticides and insecticides
While not used daily, like cleaning products, some people may use pesticides and insecticides for pest infestations. Individuals with COPD must be aware of these products’ potential respiratory risks. The toxic fumes from these chemicals can cause lung irritation and exacerbate COPD symptoms. One is advised to choose safer alternatives, wear protective gear, have proper ventilation, or enlist professionals’ help in case of pest issues.