Some of the chemicals detected in household dust are toxic and others are essential to life. The toxic ones come from pollution from cars or very small pieces of the furniture. A new study sheds some light on the issue of chemicals we breathe in every day.
The recent analysis was published today in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. It re-stated that phthalates, flame retardants, and phenols – all these materials are a widely encountered ingredient of household dust. These potentially dangerous substances are present in large quantities. We accidentally eat and breathe in particles of these by-products every day.
Scientists don’t know if this kind of exposure can cause harm or not.
These types of exposures happen when chemicals flake off of buildings or electrical cords. They can even be found in a spray of perfume. Professor Ami Zota, from the George Washington University, is a senior study author.
She and her colleagues took a detailed look at 26 peer-reviewed studies which analyzed samples of dust from 14 states. The dust came from rural, suburban and urban areas. It included houses, schools, and workplaces. Ten of the most encountered chemicals were found in ninety percent of samples. This shows they exist in nearly every household and community.
The most widespread chemical is DEHP (Phthalate). It is used in all kinds of plastic products, cosmetics, and personal care products. In mice and rats who ingest high quantities of DEHP, it stops the development of the male reproductive system and can cause liver cancer.
Another chemical on the list is the flame retardant trisphosphate. It can lead to cancer and cause brain damage in mice, but scientists don’t yet know whether it’s dangerous to people.
The study only measured the chemicals found in the dust. It did not look at the health of those exposed to it.
Another point made by Zota is that some of these chemicals could be harmful if combined.
Tracey Woodruff, director of the Program on Reproductive Health at the University of California credits the study as a “great contribution” to expanding the knowledge base of chemicals present in household dust.
What’s your opinion on this study? Please leave us a comment, below. Thank you!
Image Source – Free Stock Photos