Dust in your house may have toxic chemicals, study says


The dust on your TV, night stand and elsewhere in your home may expose you to a wide array of potentially toxic chemicals, according to a new study.

CBS News reported that researchers from Harvard University, the University of California-San Francisco, George Washington University, Silent Spring Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council found 10 chemicals of top concern that may have a negative impact on health.

Read more: Here’s how often you should clean all the stuff in your house

Many consumer product chemicals have incomplete health and safety information

Researchers analysed data from 26 peer-reviewed papers and one unpublished data set, all of which combined included 45 chemicals.

“No matter which way we looked at it, there were some chemicals that stood out,” research co-author and,staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council Veena Singla told CBS News.

‘Most studies only measure a few chemicals, so it makes it hard to understand typical exposures in homes and workplaces,’ study lead author and assistant professor at George Washington University Ami Zota told CBS News.

“One of our objectives with this – because there are so many consumer product chemicals being used currently in commerce with incomplete health and safety information – was to conduct this analysis with the objective of helping researchers as well as decision-makers to set priorities,’ Zota said. ‘Which chemicals to prioritize, in terms of conducting future health assessments. As well as which chemicals to actively develop safer alternatives for.’

Phthalates, a chemical used in vinyl flooring and toys — which has varieties named DEP, DEHP, BBzP and DnBP — was found in 90 percent of tested dust samples.

“Phthalates are linked to multiple health hazards, including reproductive,” Singla said. “And some flame retardants are linked to cancer.”

Other chemicals of concern to researchers were TCEP, a flame retardant added to baby products, electronics and couches and PFOA and PFOS, chemicals found many waterproof, non-stick and stain-resistant products.


Singla said minimizing contact with these chemicals can be accomplished by washing hands with plain soap and water, wet mopping and dusting with a damp cloth, and vacuuming with a HEPA-filter.

Singla said in the long term there are legislative and regulatory solutions. ‘It does make a difference when people tell their government agencies that this matters to them and they’re concerned.’

Read more: This is why you probably shouldn’t wear shoes in your house

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