Dust in your house is extremely annoying, yet so common that we tend to ignore it. However, it turns out that household dust could be wreaking havoc to you and your children, even more than you think. Day-to-day items and products like pizza boxes, toys, and non-stick cookware emit chemicals in the air that potentially turn in dangerous dust particles.
When the Toxic Dust Settles
Recently, researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University did a study on household dust, which is the first study of this kind. They found 45 detrimental chemicals in the dust, with 10 being found in 90 percent of the dust samples.
These include flame retardants like TPHP, TDCIPP, and TCEP, a carcinogen that is often used in baby products, building materials, and furniture.
Phthalates were the most prevalent chemical class found in the dust samples. These chemicals are commonly used in cosmetics and toys to soften the plastic. The problem with these chemicals is that they have been associated with respiratory problems, declines in IQ, hormonal imbalance, infertility, and obesity.
According to Ami Zota, lead author and assistant professor of environmental and occupational health, “The findings suggest that people, and especially children, are exposed on a daily basis to multiple chemicals in dust that is linked to serious health problems.” She also adds that “exposure to even small amounts of chemicals in combination can lead to amplified health risk, especially for developing infants and young mothers”.
Even more disturbing is the fact that children were particularly prone to the adverse side effects of contaminated dust, since they often play on the floor and touch their mouths. “They end up having a lot more exposure to chemicals in dust and they are more vulnerable to toxic effects because their brains and bodies are still developing,” said Singla, co-author of the study from the Natural Resources Defense Council in California.
How to Limit Exposure
Contrary to popular belief, cleaning the house on a regular basis is not enough to cut down the risks associated with household dust. Chemical concentration can accumulate rapidly, and the problem becomes worse they aren’t visible to the naked eye.
However, there are certain steps that can be taken to limit exposure to contaminated dust. Read on to learn what else can be done apart from vacuuming and mopping the floors, dusting with a damp cloth, and cleaning the house thoroughly on a regular basis.
1. We, as consumers, should make careful choices regarding the products we buy. Products that contain detrimental chemicals like DIBP, DNBP, DEHP, DEP, HFCs, and phenols should be avoided at all cost.
2. Washing the hands with plain soap and water before eating is a must!
3. An app called Detox Me provides tips on how to limit exposure to chemicals, such as using fragrance-free cleaning products, swapping vinyl shower curtains for nylon, and many more.
Additional steps you can take to limit exposure to detrimental chemicals includes using castile soap as replacement for skin care products, laundry and dish detergent, and all-purpose cleaner as well as making your own, natural cleaning products using ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.