Dashing Maids house cleaners in the US are subject to a variety of ethical and legal concerns. They have come under fire from public health officials, as well as consumers who have raised questions about the safety of chemical-based cleansers. The specter of diseases such as autism, cancer, and Alzheimer’s has prompted some parents to choose other home care options for their children. Public concern about environmental toxins has also heightened concerns about the long-term effects of house cleaning products. House cleaners are also being scrutinized for their use of prescription pain killers and antidepressants.
Concerns about the risks associated with house cleaning have been intensified by recent cases of domestic violence, including reports of abuse and child abuse in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. In May, a large group of domestic workers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu collapsed after staying for hours in their offices. The National Association of Retail Cleaning and Cleaners (NARCA), an organization of domestic cleaning service providers, estimates that more than 20% of all house cleaners in the US may be suffering from work-related stress. In Chennai, police found three men dead after discovering their bodies in a garbage container filled with sewage. Nearly a dozen others escaped the burning garbage truck, but local residents were quick to blame the house cleaners for the deaths.
Concerns about domestic worker health have increased as the threat of swine flu has also increased. In August, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a study that estimated that approximately two million Americans are at risk of contracting the pandemic. The report cited certain high-risk areas, including states such as Texas and Rhode Island, where house cleaners carry an elevated risk of contracting the pandemic. The study did not, however, look into the possibility that house cleaners could be at fault for the deaths of H5N1 avian flu, which killed over a thousand chickens in New York. The report also does not look into whether house cleaners should be blamed for the death of a nursing home resident in Massachusetts. These cases are still under investigation.
With the increase in domestic worker injuries and fatalities, some cleaners have begun to turn to cleaning services as a form of employment. A cleaner’s main task is to clean the client’s homes, and they generally have little direct contact with clients. However, being a cleaner offers a means to make some extra money. Some cleaners earn up to forty dollars per hour, and the pay largely depends on the complexity of the client’s order, and the time it takes to clean the house. A cleaner might also receive tips, depending on the client’s location and type of house cleaning services. Many domestic workers are willing to accept higher tips in order to be able to provide for their families.
An outbreak of swine flu in China has caused fears about the health risks of using house cleaners. A report released in January by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that there is a large international swine influenza pandemic, and that the majority of people who contract the virus do not show any signs or symptoms. It has also been reported that the majority of these cases were directly associated with food-poisoning. A study conducted by CNN showed that a majority of those who had contracted the swine flu did not show any signs or symptoms of illness, but tested positive due to a contamination of respiratory organs, such as the nose, throat, and lungs.
In a bid to stop the pandemic from worsening, WHO is encouraging people to use licensed professionals to clean their homes. According to WHO, these professionals, known as licensed home care workers, carry special identification badges that show that they are trained by a particular agency. This ensures that the clients know that the house cleaning is being carried out by people who have the knowledge and experience required to deal with the specific problems associated with the swine flu. These workers also wear thermometers, so that they can check the temperature at different parts of the house. They also ensure that all family members, and their pets, are vaccinated against the virus. By taking these simple precautions, the chances of successfully coping with the pandemic are greatly increased.