The application of the mobile application for the assessment of cleaning workers' exposure to cleaning products: a pilot study

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Cleaning product use has been associated with adverse respiratory health effects such as asthma in cleaning staff and healthcare workers. Research in health effects from cleaning products has largely depended upon collecting exposure information by questionnaires which has limitations such as recall bias and underestimation of exposure. The aim of this study was to develop a Cleaning and Hazardous Products Exposure Logging (CHaPEL) app with a barcode scanner and to test the feasibility of this app with university cleaners.

The CHaPEL app was developed to collect information on demographics, individual product information, and exposure information. It also included an ease-of-use survey. A pilot study with university cleaning workers was undertaken in which cleaning workers scanned each product after use and answered the survey. Respiratory hazards of cleaning substances in the scanned cleaning products were screened by safety data sheets, a Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship model and an asthmagen list established by an expert group in the US.

Eighteen university cleaners participated in this study over a period of 5 weeks. In total, 77 survey responses and 6 cleaning products were collected and all reported that using the app was easy. The most frequently used product was a multi-surface cleaner followed by a disinfectant. Out of 14 substances in cleaning products, ethanolamine and Alkyl (C12-16) dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride were found as respiratory hazardous substances.

The CHaPEL app is a user-friendly immediate way to successfully collect exposure information using the barcodes of cleaning products. This tool could be useful for future epidemiological studies focused on exposure assessment with less interruption to the workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and health
Issue number2
Early online date24 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Barcode
  • Cleaning product
  • Respiratory health
  • Smartphone


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