08 Nov Dust is Everywhere!
New research has found that household dust does more than hide behind furniture and collect under beds. Turns out this common nuisance is packed with potentially toxic chemicals present in everyday products. Particularly worrisome is that many of the chemicals are linked to health risks like cancer or developmental toxicity, and even small amounts of exposure can be damaging to infants or young children. The study’s authors want to see these dangerous chemicals replaced with safer alternatives as quickly as possible.
Household Dust Contains Over 7,000 Species of Bacteria and Fungi
When harmful chemicals from common household products are released into the air, they settle into the dust that surrounds us. They are then inhaled or absorbed through the skin, along with thousands of bacteria and fungi. Some of the study’s key findings include:
- Ninety percent of dust samples contained 10 harmful chemicals, including a known cancer-causing agent (TDCIPP). This toxic agent is often used as a flame retardant in baby products, furniture, and furnishings.
- Indoor dust routinely contains four classes of harmful chemicals in high amounts. Phthalates (DEP, DEHP, DNBP, and DIBP) were found in the highest concentrations. These chemicals, widely used to soften plastics, are known to disrupt the body’s hormones. In 2008 the U.S. Congress banned the use of phthalates in the making of children’s toys because of health concerns, but they are still used in hundreds of other consumer products.
- Phenols – primarily found in cleaning products – ranked second, followed by flame retardants and HFCs– which are used to make non-stick surfaces like in cookware.
Hazards for Humans
The study only looked at the types and amounts of chemicals present in household dust; it did not study the health of people who spent time exposed to it. While it’s not yet known what amount should be considered hazardous, lead author Ami Zota of the Milken Institute says the findings suggest people – especially children – are exposed daily to multiple chemicals that are linked to serious health problems.
Young children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies, especially their lungs, are still developing and are much more susceptible to toxins. They ingest or inhale far more dust than adults do since they and their toys spend much more time near the floor. And even minute exposure to fire retardants can damage a child’s development, causing deficits in learning, memory, hearing, and motor skills.
The Way to BetterAir
Dust is a well-known allergen, with or without toxic chemicals. If anyone in your family is allergic to dust, take preventative steps to reduce contact with it. In addition, the use of probiotics is one of the best ways to alleviate the symptoms of many types of allergies and illnesses. Probiotics are the beneficial organisms live naturally in your gut and are proven to help with immune function and prevention of respiratory ailments. At BetterAir, we have developed a product that harnesses the power of probiotics through our BA-008 Eco-Balancing System. Our product is the fastest and easiest way to release probiotics into your home environment where they can consume harmful pollutants.
You can also reduce the number of toxic chemicals in your home’s dust by bringing fewer of them into the house in the first place.
- Replace foam products like furniture, padded high-chair seats, and baby changing pads that contain PBDEs. If you can’t replace them, keep the covers intact and wash frequently.
- Buy home electronics without PBDEs. Many companies have committed to eliminating them from their products, so research their websites to see where they stand.
- Choose products made with natural fibers like wood furniture, cotton, down, and wool.
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