Report finds potentially harmful chemicals contained in common household dust.
Scientists from George Washington University, the Silent Spring Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Harvard University and the University of California-San Francisco began a survey in 2015 seeking to identify the chemicals contained in common household dust, and the results found several chemicals that could be hazardous to small children, according to NRDC.org.
The study compiled data from all the previous studies since 2000 that looked at the compilation of indoor household dust, and used the information to calculate the levels of chemicals in the dust and estimate the level of chemicals that enter our bodies.
The researchers identified 45 chemicals from five different classes of chemicals that were found in three or more of the studies involving household dust, and many of these chemicals have been associated with health hazards, including cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Also noted were combinations of chemicals that have the potential to harm one’s health, leading the researchers to express concerns that the exposure to multiple chemicals with the same possible harm that could increase the chances of the harm. Previous studies primarily examined the impact of the chemicals as individual issues, and did not account for combinations of multiple chemicals, which may add to the risk.
The five classes of chemicals were Phthalates, Environmental Phenols, Flame Retardants, Fragrances, and Fluorinated chemicals, most of which are added to common household products and building materials. The report also said that some of the chemicals, such as phthalates, fragrance flame retardants and phenols were found in 90 percent or more of the studies.
The report called for the government and the companies that manufacture these products to remove these potentially hazardous chemicals from their products, citing tougher laws in California and Washington state that force companies to use safer alternatives or report the content of hazardous chemicals on their products, enabling the consumer able to decide if they are comfortable with purchasing the products.
Meanwhile, the agency recommends washing your hands frequently to remove household dust, particularly prior to eating your meals, and using plain soap and water. They also recommend frequent dusting of your home, and using a wet mop or vacuum with a high-efficiency air filter to clean your floors.