The Health Effects of Cleaning with Aerosol Sprays

Aerosol sprays send a very fine mist of particles or droplets into the air. They’ve been used for decades to dispense cleaning chemicals and air fresheners. Chemicals sprayed into the air, however, may be inhaled or absorbed by the skin, which can sometimes cause adverse health effects.

Unclean indoor environments can make people sick or trigger allergy and asthma attacks; however, the very products used to remove these pollutants can contribute to indoor toxins.

One major concern is exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be dangerous to human health.

According to a report from Air Quality Sciences, Inc., products packaged as an aerosol increase the potential for exposure to VOCs because they atomize the particles during use. The particles, which are smaller and lighter, “can be inhaled more deeply into the lung, stay suspended longer in the air than larger, heavier particles, and can travel around an indoor environment easier via the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system.”

In contrast, cleaning products delivered using a trigger sprayer, course mist, stream or in a bucket diminish the risk for exposure.

A connection has also been established between spray cleaners and the incidence of asthma and other respiratory difficulties in adults.

“The continued use of aerosols by cleaning workers can trigger asthma,” says researcher Jan-Paul Zock, who was part of a project that looked into the effects of aerosol cleaning products. He says these products release harmful chemicals into the air that we, in turn, breathe. Zock says his findings are echoed by other studies that found cleaning professionals have a disproportionately higher rate of asthma than in the rest of the workforce.

Some of the chemicals found in solvents, cleansers and aerosol propellants such as chlorinated hydrocarbons can be highly toxic to humans. According to Health Canada, chlorinated hydrocarbons are mostly absorbed into the body through breathing, but they can also be absorbed through the skin and the mouth.

Those suffering from the acute effects of chlorinated hydrocarbons exposure, says Health Canada, can usually recover completely. For those repeatedly exposed, however, adverse health effects can include depression of the central nervous and even permanent damage, as well as irritation of the eyes and lungs, and damage to the skin, liver and kidneys.

Given the potential risks of using aerosol sprays, we avoid them at Allcare since we don’t like to take risks with the health of our employees and clients.

Is your office mold-free? Here’s how to deal with this health-impacting problem


Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that it can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions.

In the workplace, just like at home, mold growth needs to be strictly avoided.  Significant problems can arise if the growth is left unchecked, affecting the look and smell of your facility — and possibly even causing structural damage.

How does it grow?

Mold can grow on virtually any surface, as long as there is moisture or water, oxygen and an organic source.

These tiny toxic organisms reproduce by creating spores that are too small to be seen by the human eye — and these spores continually float throughout the indoor and outdoor air.  Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat in certain individuals, especially those prone to asthma or with weakened immune systems.

Don’t let the mold take hold

Moisture control is key to mold control.  When leaks or spills occur indoors, act promptly.  Any moisture problems should be addressed and cleaned properly.

Here are some key steps to avoid an overgrowth:

  • repair leaky plumbing or leaks in the building structure as soon as possible
  • look for condensation and wet spots, and fix the source of the moisture immediately
  • perform regular HVAC and roof inspections
  • maintain indoor relative humidity below 70%
  • be sure to properly vent moisture-generating appliances
  • provide adequate drainage around the building and slopping
  • pinpoint areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventative action to ensure that they do not re occur.
Get in touch

We can take care of any existing mold or mildew problems and show you how to avoid them in the first place.