By: Mary Brohpy Marcus
Excerpt: Household dust does more than collect in corners and on bookshelves full of novels you haven’t gotten around to reading. A new study shows it can expose people to a wide range of potentially toxic chemicals.
In what the authors are calling the first study of its kind – a meta-analysis of more than two dozen previous studies on chemicals in dust – they report that 90 percent of dust samples taken from houses in 14 states contain harmful chemicals, including one that’s known to cause cancer.
“Most studies only measure a few chemicals so it makes it hard to understand typical exposures in homes and work places,” said the study’s lead author Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environment and occupational health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
The researchers – who also came from Harvard University, the University of California-San Francisco, Silent Spring Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council – analyzed data from 26 peer-reviewed papers and one unpublished set of data. The collected data included 45 chemicals from five chemical classes. …
The chemicals studied come from all sorts of common consumer goods, including furniture, personal hygiene products, flooring, baby products, cleaning supplies, fast food and food packaging. Zota said the chemicals are released into the air and then seep into dust that settles on furniture and floors. People can inhale or ingest small particles of dust or even absorb them through the skin.