CNN - Toxic chemicals are hiding in your house dust

September 14, 2016

By: Meera Senthilingam

Excerpt: When was the last time you dusted your house?

Your answer could reveal a lot about your home habits, but the findings of a new study might have everyone upping their game -- and potentially keeping wet wipes and hand sanitizer nearby at all times.

Researchers at George Washington University say 45 toxic chemicals are found commonly in your house dust, with 10 of them lurking in 90% of homes across the country.

"We wanted to identify which chemicals were present at the highest exposure in homes," said Dr. Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental occupational health who led the study. "Some chemicals were in virtually every dust sample."

To reveal which potential toxins we're being exposed to in the comfort of our own homes, Zota's team analyzed all studies that have sampled indoor environments in the United States since 2000. They looked for the presence of potentially toxic chemicals and divided them into five classes of chemicals, two of which were found to be more common than the rest: phthalates and flame retardants. …

Preventing exposure

Some advice to prevent exposure, other than regularly dusting your home, is to veer away from the traditional feather duster and use a powerful vacuum with a HEPA filter to ensure that all dust particles are sucked up. Regular hand-washing -- which has a multitude of benefits -- will also reduce exposure to flame retardants found on the surfaces of furniture.

The Silent Spring Institute has created an app to help people understand more about their environmental exposures, aptly named Detox Me.

Everyday Chemical Exposures