For food service sanitation, keeping a restaurant clean using chemicals is essential. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), restaurants should use cleaners and sanitisers to maintain an environment free of germs and bacteria. However, the food service industry has a severe issue of exposure to chemicals. Long-term exposure to harmful chemicals can risk human life.
So, employees should train to learn the proper use of cleaning supplies to be on the safe side. This article will shed some light on the health hazards of improper use of cleaning supplies.
Which Cleaning Materials Are Hazardous?
Some cleaning materials may be hazardous and cause various health problems, such as coughing, burns, and skin rashes. You may suffer severe consequences if you handle dangerous chemicals without taking safety precautions. In a worst-case scenario, you may lose your life.
Here Are the Common Health Hazards of Improper Use of Cleaning Supplies
2-Butoxyethanol is an ordinary cleaner for windows and kitchens. You can find it in industrial-standard all-in-one window cleaners that serve as a comparatively non-volatile solvent.
Long-term exposure to 2-Butoxyethanol may cause neurodegenerative disorders. So, this chemical may get into your body if you touch or inhale it. Apart from this, a high concentration of this chemical may cause liver or kidney damage. At lower levels, inhaling this chemical may cause lung and throat irritation.
Ammonia is on the list of the most common industrial chemicals. At room temperature, this chemical turns into a gaseous form. It is possible to compress ammonia into liquid form.
Generally, exposure to ammonia happens when you inhale the gas. This chemical may cause burns, respiratory distress or respiratory failure. Apart from this, ammonia may trigger olfactory adaptation. So, if you get exposed to ammonia for a long period, you will get used to the smell and barely smell it.
You may suffer body irritation at a lower concentration, but at a higher concentration, it may cause skin and eye irritation.
Another health hazards of improper use of cleaning supplies are the use of Chlorine. Chlorine is used to remove mildew. At room temperature, chlorine is in the gaseous form. Therefore, you may inhale chlorine accidentally. Light exposure may cause nose and eye irritation. You can find chlorine in a wide range of cleaners and disinfectants.
Direct contact with this chemical may result in chemical burns. Since chlorine is heavier, you may suffer from asphyxiation due to poor ventilation. It’s not a good idea to combine chlorine with bleach, as the mixture can create chloramines. These gases may cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. In some cases, exposure to chlorine may cause pneumonia.
Sodium Hypochlorite or Sodium Hydroxide
Generally, sodium hydroxide is found in drain and oven cleaners. This odourless chemical may irritate your skin and eyes even if you indirectly come into contact with it. On the other hand, direct contact may cause chemical and thermal burns.
Generally, sodium hypochlorite is found in store-bought bleach containers and falls under the umbrella of chlorines. Hypochlorite solutions may release chlorine gas. Therefore, this gas may cause skin and eye irritation.
If you want to be on the safe side, avoid exposure. Again, a higher concentration may result in chemical burns. Similarly, ingesting it may cause corrosive injury.
PERC, short for Tetrachloreothylene, is a common ingredient in dry-cleaning and degreasing products. Generally, this chemical is found in dry-cleaning solutions. Commonly, you get affected when you inhale the chemical.
Lower exposure may cause respiratory irritation, and higher exposure may cause dizziness and drowsiness. Long-term exposure may cause coma and death.
Last but not least health hazards of improper use of cleaning supplies are the use of Phthalates. It is found in cleaning products that contain scents. Phthalate is a common chemical in food packaging, cosmetics, fragrance, cleaners, and a wide range of personal care products.
Although there is a lack of confirmed research about the effects of this chemical on the human body, we can’t deny that it has no impact. However, phthalates can change your hormone levels and cause other health issues.
You can choose from loads of non-toxic products available in the market. You can use these products to clean and disinfect. So, read the label before buying a green cleaning product. The idea is to ensure the product is free of chemical cleaners.
Restaurants should evaluate their needs for cleaners and disinfectants and go for bleach-free alternatives.
Facility managers are supposed to consider the recent advancements and go for cleaning equipment that doesn’t use chemicals. This type of equipment features no-touch technologies like chemical-free systems, high-filtration vacuums, and UVC-light systems.