According to a new study coming out of George Washington University, dust in the home can expose individuals daily to a variety of toxic chemicals that are linked to health issues. The research team noted that children may have an increased risk of this.
The study revealed a wide range of toxic chemicals from daily products that gather in household dust. They gathered data from a variety of U.S. studies that reviewed dust samples and analyzed the figures. The team’s goal was to find out the top ten toxic chemicals that are most likely found in household dust. As it seems, the one that hit the number one spot was DEHP; a toxic chemical that is used in everything from food packaging, to cleaners, to fragrance products, cosmetics, as well as hygiene items. Phenols, most commonly in house items and cleaning products, was the second on the list; with highly fluorinated chemicals and flame retardants at third (generally found on non-stick cookware).
Unfortunately, these possible toxic chemicals from products are launched into the air and collect with the dust that settles in a house, whether that be furniture, the floor, knick-knacks, books, or toys. Families living in the household are naturally exposed to the dust, via breathing or even ingesting them (from time-to-time), and sometimes the dust can even be absorbed in an individual’s skin. The even more unfortunate news is that infants, babies, toddlers, and kids have an increased risk around exposure as they play, crawl, and roll around floors; not to mention how much they love to put everything in their mouths, whether it has dust on it or not.
Medical News Today reported that the worst part of what the study revealed serious issues associated with these chemicals. In fact, 90% of the dust samples in this meta-analysis contained ten toxic chemicals often found on baby products, furniture, and other household things. One of those ten happened to be TDCIPP, a cancer-causing agent. The highest toxic chemical intake was linked to TCEP (flame retardant that is in baby products, electronics, and couches), and subsequent toxic chemicals with an approximately high intake included the phthalates DEP, DEHP, BBzP, and DnBP. The researchers note that these are also found in fast food and pharmaceutical products. They are also linked to health hazards like respiratory issues in kids, declining IQ, and interfering hormones.
Other toxic chemicals found in household dust in increased levels that may be severely hazardous to one’s health include PFOS and PFOA, which are also revealed to be in non-stick, stain-resistant, or waterproof items around the home, mobile phones, and even pizza boxes. These chemicals have also been linked to developmental, digestive, and immune issues.
But with so many of these items currently in our homes and around our children, what steps can a family or individual make to keep their kids and themselves healthy, by keeping these toxic chemicals at bay? Experts suggest a HEPA filter vacuum, regular hand washing, and healthier choices when buying products. A strong message can be made to manufacturers to produce safer products and create a cycle of change.