Melaleuca Lung Study / AUNZ / September 2018



A new, independent study based on 20 years of research reveals that cleaning your home with chemical cleaning compounds can damage lung tissue. The study showed that cleaning with such products as little as once per week could be as damaging over time to respiratory health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years! 1

ABOUT THE STUDY Starting in the 1990s, the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS III) began tracking a large population of 6,235 women and men with a beginning average age of 34 at 22 health centres in multiple countries. Over the next 20 years, participants were quizzed about their use of both spray and other cleaning products and had their lung capacity tested regularly. Lung capacity was measured by breathing into a spirometer, an instrument that measures how much air you can exhale. Those with compromised lung function are not able to exhale as much volume as someone who is healthy. Of the participants, 53% were women and 44% were lifelong nonsmokers. Analysis was adjusted for smokers and those with doctor-diagnosed asthma. Participant data was extensive, ensuring that each subject was well characterised, significantly reducing the likelihood of misrepresentation. After twenty years of data had been collected, the results were compiled and analysed by a team of 28 international researchers from nine countries, led by scientists at The University of Bergen in Norway. The study was recently published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


Weekly use of home cleaning products is as damaging to lung health as smoking 20 cigarettes per day for 20 years.

By now, just about everyone knows the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Among their many hazards is depleted lung capacity—the result of damage to the tender internal tissues of the respiratory system. Lung capacity is important because it is a marker of overall health and fitness. The body depends on the lungs’ life-giving ability to oxygenate blood and expel carbon dioxide—the waste product of metabolism. Decreased lung capacity can lead to obvious declines in fitness, but since the body is so dependent on oxygen exchange, whole systems of the body can be compromised when the lungs become even partially debilitated. The ECRHS III study concluded that women who used home cleaning products at least once per week saw a similar reduction in lung capacity as those who smoked a pack a day over the same period. According to the authors, “Women cleaning at home or working as occupational cleaners had accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposures related to cleaning activities may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health.”


Women are affected more than men.

Though there was a clear correlation between women who cleaned and respiratory function decline, there was no similar correlation for men. While the scientists pointed out that the total number of men regularly using household cleaning products was significantly lower than women, the study summary also points out previous research that elaborates on the increased sensitivity of the female respiratory system. While not completely unaffected, male lungs have been proven to endure greater exposure to environmental pollutants—including cigarette smoke and wood dust— before experiencing a similar drop in lung capacity. 2, 3, 4 This finding is particularly concerning considering women engage with cleaning products more frequently than men .


Cleaning at home can be just as harmful as being an occupational cleaner.

The ECRHS III survey categorised participants as “not cleaning,” “cleaning at home,” and “occupational cleaning.” While the “not cleaning” subset of women saw only expected, age-related change in lung capacity, the “cleaning at home” group saw the same decreases in lung health as “occupational cleaning.” How could this be the case when cleaning professionals are using cleaning products on a daily, ongoing basis, versus someone performing chores less frequently in their own home? First, consider that occupational cleaners are most often required to use protective gloves, clothing, and even masks while performing their duties. Those at home casually disregard warning labels and use cleaning products without adequate protection. Additionally, professional cleaners move from room to room, working in larger spaces with better ventilation than someone at home.



Liquid cleaners may be as harmful as sprays.

Women who regularly use cleaning products have increased rates of asthma.

Study researchers originally suspected that products delivered through a spray or mist would prove more harmful than those applied as a liquid, gel, or wipe. Surprisingly, the study found no significant difference between cleaner delivery types.

Researchers found increased rates of asthma within the groups who used cleaning products regularly. This echoes multiple recent studies that have linked the use of harmful chemical cleaning agents with the onset of asthma.



Damage is cumulative over time.

The study hypothesised that ammonia, bleach and quaternary ammonium could be potentially problematic ingredients. The researchers stated, “one could hypothesise that long-term exposure to airway irritants such as ammonia and bleach used when cleaning at home could cause fibrotic or other interstitial changes in the lung tissue, thereby leading to accelerated decline of FVC [forced vital capacity].”

When chemicals are regularly inhaled into the sensitive tissues of the lungs, it makes sense that the long-term consequence could be serious respiratory problems. “It seems biologically plausible that exposure to cleaning chemicals,” the researchers wrote, “could result in accelerated lung function decline and chronic airway obstruction; low-grade inflammation over many years could possibly lead to persistent damage to the airways, alternatively, persistent damage could result from continued exposure after onset of cleaning-related asthma.” They hypothesised that “airway irritants such as ammonia and bleach” cause “fibrotic” changes to the delicate lung tissue, essentially scarring the lungs. Simply stated, regular exposure to the toxins within the home may not allow the respiratory system an opportunity to heal, creating a condition where internal damage accumulates. Dr. Cecilie Svanes, a professor at the University of Bergen and senior author of the study, said, “We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age.” 5


Like all systems in your body, the respiratory system is miraculous in its design and function. Each breath draws in essential oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere and pulls it deep into your lung tissue. Here, large passageways branch into increasingly smaller and more intricate structures. Eventually, air is funneled into microscopic channels ending in specialised alveolar sacs that are surrounded by a complex network of interlaced capillaries. The surface of these little spherical bellows is where gas exchange takes place. The average human has about 700 million of these sacs, but due to their size, they can be easily and irreversibly damaged if exposed to the wrong elements.

1. Øistein Svanes et al., “Cleaning at Home and at Work in Relation to Lung Function Decline and Airway Obstruction,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, February 16, 2018. 2. Edwin K. Silverman et al., “Gender-Related Differences in Severe, Early-Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 162, no. 6, December 1, 2000. 3. Marilyn G. Foreman et al., “Early-Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Is Associated with Female Sex, Maternal Factors, and African American Race in the COPD Gene Study,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 184, no. 4, August 15, 2011. 4. G. Jacobsen et al., “Longitudinal Lung Function Decline and Wood Dust Exposure in the Furniture Industry,” European Respiratory Journal, 31, no. 2, February 2008. 5.

Melaleuca is proud to introduce a great range of EcoSense cleaning products to help with your home-cleaning needs.

Great Guidelines for Better Lung Health

Take a deep breath. In. And out. In. And out. That simplest of actions is the essence of life.

You are completely dependent on your body’s ability to draw in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide to go on living. Each breath draws in essential oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere and pulls it deep into your lung tissue. Large passageways branch into increasingly smaller and more intricate structures. Eventually, air is funneled into microscopic channels ending in specialised alveolar sacs that are surrounded by a complex network of interlaced capillaries. The surface of these little spherical bellows is where gas exchange takes place. The average human has about 700 million of these sacs that do this miraculous work. And yet, you probably never think about breathing.

Why? Because it’s automatic. Your pulmonary system is receiving instructions from a part of your brain that isn’t fully connected to conscious thought. And thank heavens! Who wants to remember to breathe when there are so many other things to think about? Or who could sleep if breathing were a conscious act? Just because breathing is automatic doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. Healthy lungs lead to a long and healthy life. So while you probably know a thing or two about keeping your heart healthy, many of us have little idea how to keep our lungs in top shape. Well, here are a few tips and tricks for everyone.

GET ACTIVE When you are at rest, your lungs are only functioning at about 50% capacity. Aerobic exercise like running, cycling, swimming, or interval training pushes your lungs to peak capacity and strengthens your diaphragm (the muscle responsible for drawing and releasing breath). Doctors also state that more intense activity helps counteract the buildup of pollutants, allergens, and dust in the lungs, helping them to cleanse themselves. So get up, get out, and get breathing hard—several times a week. BREATHE DEEPLY Focused, deliberate breathing while at rest also benefits your lungs by expanding them to near full capacity. Mindful breathing starts with slowly inhaling through the nose, lifting your chest, and opening your ribcage. Then exhale completely through the mouth, relaxing the chest, and pushing out as much air as possible. Good posture and reducing total sitting time also assist with better breathing form.

ELIMINATE CLEANERS WITH DANGEROUS CHEMICAL FROM YOUR HOME The 20-year independent study found that using chemical cleaning compounds as little as once a week can be as damaging to lungs as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years. Researchers are learning that the damage can be serious, even permanent. MONITOR RADON Radon is a gas naturally found in some rock and soil. If a home is built on top of an area with radon, it can leak into a home through basement floors or foundations. Trapped inside, it can build up to unhealthy levels. Radon cannot be seen or smelled, and yet because it becomes radioactive as it decays, exposure to high levels can cause lung cancer. In fact, behind smoking, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. To detect radon in your home, use a radon test kit.

DON’T SMOKE By now, just about everyone knows the dangers of cigarette smoke. It increases risk for lung cancer and other diseases by destroying lung tissue and introducing free radicals that can cause cell mutation. It constricts air passages and severely reduces lung capacity. It also creates a state of chronic inflammation within the lungs and throughout the body. If you do smoke, quitting isn’t easy, but the benefits are immense. Set a goal. Find an accountability partner. It’s never too late. AVOID POLLUTION The tiny tissues deep in the cavities of your lungs are actually quite delicate and vulnerable to damage if exposed to pollution and chemicals over an extended period of time. Avoid secondhand smoke, outdoor air pollution, and harmful chemicals at home and work.

PREVENT INFECTION According to the American Lung Association, colds and other respiratory infections can sometimes become serious. Here are some commonsense measures you can take that will benefit your lungs:

Executive Director 4 Dr. Barbara Ryan Emphasizes Magnitude of Recent Independent, International Lung-Damage Study at Convention 2018

At Melaleuca Convention 2018 in May, Dr. Barbara Ryan addressed the General Session audience on the topic of the independent lung- damage study. The study was compiled and analysed by a top team of 28 researchers from nine countries led by scientists at The University of Bergen in Norway. In March 2018, the study was published in the peer- reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and it generated global media attention. Dr. Ryan, a surgeon who received her MD from the Mayo Clinic, put the study in perspective. “This study actually showed that women who clean their homes as little as once per week—and maybe even just a portion of their homes—are having their lungs damaged. Damage that is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years!” She went on to explain the significance of this statement. “The independent study was huge. It was 20 years in length, it looked at more than 6,200 people, and found that cleaning with chemicals may be as damaging to lung capacity as smoking.” For perspective, she explained that “clinical studies are typically 10, 20, 40, maybe 50 participants over weeks to a few months, analysed, and then the study is published—and not always in a peer-reviewed journal.” She added, “If you can wrap your head around that and know what you have access to, that will really empower you.” Dr. Ryan said it was important that the study was not performed by Melaleuca. “Understand that it’s an independent study. The fact that it is an independent study just reinforces what Melaleuca has been doing with the EcoSense line over the past three decades.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water • Use a hand sanitiser like Melaleuca’s Clear Defence® when you don’t have access to running water • Minimise interactions with large groups during cold and flu season • Keep up on your dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and rinsing • See your doctor regularly • Give your immune system a fighting chance by providing your body with the essential nutrition it needs for complete health; this includes a healthy diet with the help of Melaleuca’s supplementation such as the Peak Performance Nutrition Pack Breathing can be easy. Especially with a little education and diligence. Don’t take your lungs for granted. Give them the care they deserve and they will serve you well your whole life long. DC

The Wellness Company

As Melaleuca: The Wellness Company®, we are dedicated to supporting wellness in every area of life—physical, environmental, personal, and financial—and EcoSense® cleaning and laundry products are vital to health in all four. They are free from harsh chemicals and fumes EcoSense emphasises ingredients that are plant-derived, biodegradable, and environmentally responsible where possible. Most of the time-tested formulations are super concentrated so they cost less and are lighter to ship to customers. They are a winning combination of being more effective and affordable! A recent 20-year, independent study* shows that cleaning your home with chemical cleaning compounds as little as once per week could be as damaging over time to respiratory health as smoking a pack.

of cigarettes a day for 20 years! By disposing of all harsh chemical cleaners and converting your home to EcoSense products, you can have peace of mind, knowing that you are making a better choice for yourself and your family. When your first order is delivered to your doorstep, no matter what time of year it is, it feels like Christmas morning! You bring the box inside, and one by one you lift the products out with excitement and curiosity. Because they are new to you, you may have questions on what to use when and where and how. Here is your users guide to six EcoSense customer favourites with everything you need to know about enjoying your new treasure trove of cleaning power.

Carole Sellar - Senior Director 8 “  I was under doctor’s orders to stop using chemical cleaners and bleaches, as a professional cleaner this was quite a challenge, I needed to find a better alternative. That’s when Yvette Brewin (Senior Director 9) introduced me to Melaleuca and the Ecosense range. Concentrated cleaning products that actually had a nice fragrance. This was quite a nice change from the Bi-Carb and Vinegar formulas I had been using and they were no more expensive. Melaleuca and the amazing product range have truly enhanced my life.”





Recommended for cleaning nearly all surfaces, including granite, marble, and other natural stone.

Recommended for cleaning tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, bathroom surfaces, hard water stains, and more.

Recommended for cleaning glass, stainless steel, plexiglas,

mirrors, appliances, aluminum, and more.




Recommended for countertops, refrigerator handles, doorknobs, light switches, bathrooms, remotes and mobile devices, and more.

Recommended for linoleum and tiles floors, no-wax floors, ovens, garages, outdoor furniture, grills, and more.

Recommended for cabinets, walls, carpet stains, upholstery, laundry (add capful to wash), and more.

Melaleuca is proud to introduce a great range of EcoSense cleaning products to help with your home-cleaning needs.

Copyright 2018 Melaleuca of Australia and New Zealand Pty Ltd ABN: 84 091 339 409 • PO Box 733 Balwyn VIC 3103, Australia AU 1800 07 33 99 • NZ 0800 08 33 99 • email: • 08/18

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