Free Press Journal

Acid used for toilet cleaning may cause respiratory diseases


New Delhi: 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.

The survey, conducted across six cities, including Delhi, also found that 59 per cent of Delhiites were completely oblivious to health and safety hazards posed by acid used for toilet cleaning.

“The fact that acids used as toilet cleaners pose serious health risks like respiratory problems and people ignoring its obvious connection to health, calls for such initiatives which could nudge people to the risks of acids.

“Long term exposure of acid fumes, even for a shorttime (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 2250 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 per cent doctors said that people who use acids as toilet cleaners face some or other immediate health hazards like breathlessness, coughing and eye irritation.

During the survey, 51 per cent respondents said that they experience breathlessness while 31 per cent 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.

“It is important for people to understand that it is the corrosive action of acids that helps clean toilet surfaces. But this effect is not limited to the surfaces but to their health as well,” Kaul said.

Not just this, in more than 70 per cent of the houses, doctor said that the toilets are attached to the bedroom, near kitchen or in the hallway, making children exposed to the hazards of acid fumes.

“While there is a dire need to raise awareness about long term health risks of acids used in household, it is important for consumers to use the toilet cleaners with responsibility,” Kaul stressed.