90% of Homes Contain Toxic Dust, Study Finds – HHWG

90% of Homes Contain Toxic Dust, Study Finds

Those with allergies and asthma have long battled dust in the home. Now there is new evidence that provides added incentive to clean up, and be aware of what products can be creating toxins. In 2015, scientists from George Washington University, the Silent Spring Institute, Natural Resource Defence Council, Harvard University, and the University of California–San Francisco embarked on the first study to comprehensively assess consumer product chemicals of concern in U.S. indoor dust, provide a picture of the toxic chemicals in the home, and estimate potential exposures for children. What they found was alarming. In their study released last week, 90 percent of the dust samples tested throughout 14 states contained 10 toxic chemicals, including a known carcinogen. Phthalates, used in toys and other plastic products, occurred in the highest concentrations. Phthalates are linked to cognitive and respiratory problems in children. They were followed by phenols, often used in cleaning products. Then came flame retardants, fragrances and perfluoroalkyl substances, which are used in carpets, textiles, and leather to make them water-, oil- and stain-repellent and to create grease-proof and waterproof coatings for products such as paper plates and food packaging. “Phthalates are linked to multiple health hazards, including reproductive,” Veena Signla, staff scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council said. “And some flame retardants are linked to cancer. We think our homes are safe havens, but what we found is the surprising reality that our homes are being polluted by the products we have every day.” As dust comes into the home via the air, it settles. Gasses from everyday products such as flooring, furniture, cleaning supplies, and plastic products travel through the air as well, then get absorbed in the dust. The chemicals are then primarily inhaled or ingested. The authors of the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, were especially concerned about exposure to children. “The findings suggest that people, and especially children, are exposed on a daily basis to multiple chemicals in dust that are linked to serious health problems,” says lead author Dr. Ami Zota, Assistant Professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Chemicals of top concern: TCEP – A flame retardant added to couches, baby products, electronics and other products DEP, DEHP, BBzP and DnBP – These chemicals, different varieties of phthalates, are found in an array of drugstore items like those listed above, as well as some highly processed foods and fast food. PFOA and PFOS – These chemicals are found in cellphones, pizza boxes and many non-stick, waterproof and stain-resistant products. They’ve been linked to developmental problems and issues with the immune, digestive, and endocrine systems. There are typically natural product alternatives available that do not contain these chemicals. They are unfortunately not as available as the toxic versions however, and there are likely many products already in your home that contain them. To help reduce your risk of exposure, make sure you wash your hands regularly and take traditional steps to reduce dust mites. For further insurance against these toxins, HomeLab identifies both dust particulates and toxic VOCs so you can do something before these chemicals are inhaled or ingested. Their experts will also review your home and identify potentially toxic Learn more about how it works here.