By: Karen Weintraub
Excerpt: "Robin Dodson, who has a Harvard Ph.D. in environmental health, never thought she’d be vacuuming for a living. But a recent study had the research scientist collecting dust from college dorm rooms -- which certainly gave her mom a good laugh.
The study convinced Dodson, a research scientist at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, that all parents should be encouraging their college students to vacuum more regularly.
The reason: The dust in their dorm room could contain carcinogens. (Though the risk is still largely theoretical: No one has ever connected a cancer diagnosis to their college room.)
Her study, published this week in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that the flame retardant chemicals sprayed on foam mattresses and upholstered furniture can migrate out and build up in teenagers' never-too-clean bedrooms, as well as the common rooms where many study or spend their downtime."