Consumer product chemicals in indoor dust

On average, people in the United States spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors—in places like homes, schools, offices, gyms, and cars. These places are usually full of dust, which is more than just dirt.
consumer products

Household items like televisions, furniture, beauty products, cleaning products, and flooring materials shed chemicals that end up in the air and in the dust on our floors. These chemicals can enter our bodies from air and dust when we breathe, touch contaminated surfaces, and accidentally transfer them to our food or mouth with our dusty hands. And some of these chemicals can contribute to health problems.

In 2015, scientists from George Washington University, Silent Spring Institute, NRDC, Harvard University, and the University of California–San Francisco embarked on the first study to comprehensively assess consumer product chemicals of concern in U.S. indoor dust, provide a picture of the toxic chemicals in the home, and estimate potential exposures for children.

We compiled information from every published study since the year 2000 that analyzed current consumer product chemicals in U.S. indoor dust. We used that information to calculate average chemical levels and estimate how much enters our bodies. We also summarized health hazard information from government agencies and other expert bodies. Scientists and policymakers can use this information to improve future exposure research and prioritize chemicals for health studies and regulatory action.

News & Updates

August
2017

It’s time now for us to devote resources toward preventing these unwanted exposures, so we can prevent future health problems.

September
2016

New study reveals top 10 consumer product chemicals in dust that could harm human health.