Cleaning an institution such as a hospital, a school, or an assisted living facility, requires special care with which cleaning products are used. These types of facilities are often occupied by people who are part of a “sensitive” population that is affected more adversely by chemicals than the general population. However, even when cleaning an office building or condominium it is important to minimize the exposure to dangerous cleaning chemicals – for the wellbeing of both the occupants and the cleaning staff.
The main groups that are considered vulnerable populations are pregnant and nursing women, children, the elderly, and people who are already suffering from an illness or infection. These demographics are more susceptible to negative effects from heavy odours, chemicals, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Pregnant and nursing women have immune systems that are already taxed with keeping both the mother and the child healthy. Exposure to chemicals can be dangerous for the woman and the baby.
Children are more sensitive than adults because their bodies are growing and creating new tissue, and can therefore suffer from greater negative effects than adult bodies. An increasing amount of children now suffer from asthma, which is aggravated by harsh chemicals and fragrances. Also, children are more likely to put their hands in their mouths, allowing contaminants on their hands to enter their systems.
Older adults may be vulnerable to cleaning chemicals because their immune systems are often weaker than their younger counterparts’. Furthermore, they may have more sensitive lungs or respiratory concerns that make breathing in chemicals a more severe hazard.
While this category speaks for itself, people who are ill have immune systems that are already fighting and strained. Cleaning chemicals can worsen their condition, or cause their recovery to stall.
Unfortunately, we are exposed to a lot of chemicals, all the time. It’s in our food, our air, our products. We can, however, do our best to minimize our exposure to cleaning chemicals by choosing safer products.