A recent article published by The Guardian revealed the startling finds of a scientific study on household dust. Researchers discovered that the dust samples collected contained 45 toxic chemicals known to cause a host of health problems ranging from respiratory ailments to cancer. This study analyzed dust samples collected from homes, schools, and gymnasiums.
Researchers identified 10 toxic chemicals that were present in 90% or more of the dust samples. One of the top offenders, the flame retardant known as TDCIPP, is frequently found in upholstered furniture, baby products, and carpet padding. This chemical is a known carcinogen and has been shown in studies to negatively affect reproductive health. TPHP, another flame retardant, also makes the top 10 list and has been found to adversely affect the reproductive and nervous systems. Researchers also detected high levels of phalates, which are commonly found in flooring, plastic food containers, and health and beauty products. Phalates have been scientifically linked to causing birth defects along with hormone and reproductive system disruption.
What can homeowners do to protect their homes from toxic chemicals found in indoor dust?
The first thing you should do is to eliminate the sources of these airborne contaminants. Familiarize yourself with common household products and furnishings that may emit toxic chemicals such as household cleaners, laminate flooring, and fragrances. Opt for products using natural ingredients and materials that do not contain harmful VOCs and chemicals.
Many people are not aware of all of the chemicals commonly found in commercially available household cleaners, furnishings, and products or the serious health threats they pose. Learn more about which products contain these toxic substances and get rid of them.
Children are especially susceptible to the health problems associated with exposure to toxic chemicals. Studies have shown that children are believed to ingest higher amounts of chemicals found in dust when compared to adults because they spend more time on the floor and because they put their hands and other objects into their mouths.
To minimize the amount of dust in your home, vacuum regularly using a HEPA filtered model and use microfiber dust cloths designed to trap dust particles. Open windows and doors as often as possible to circulate fresh air throughout your home and to reduce the chemical build up in the air.
While you are looking for ways to eliminate toxic dust and the chemicals associated with this dust, also consider having your home air tested. A Home Air Check test will provide you with a total level of VOCs found in your home and predict the sources of the of these VOCs. Eliminating these VOC sources and ventilating your home will result in a healthier environment for your family.