Study highlights pervasive impact of consumer products on air quality in homes

Research Area: 

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology provides the most comprehensive information to date on the mixtures of hormone disrupting chemicals people are commonly exposed to in their homes. It also confirms that indoor uses of consumer products are the primary sources of endocrine disrupting exposures in indoor air, and shows that indoor levels are higher than those outdoors.

Researchers from Silent Spring Institute analyzed 104 chemicals in 50 homes including both chemicals that penetrate indoors from outdoor industrial and transportation sources and those from indoor use of consumer products and building materials. Among those found were phthalates, parabens, PBDE flame retardants, PCBs, and pesticides, all widely used in homes, but suspected to have adverse health effects such as cancer and reproductive, neurological, and thyroid disorders.

Unlike industrial and transportation pollutants and pesticides, which vary a lot geographically, the authors note that pollutants from consumer products (plastics, furniture, cleaning products, cosmetics, etc.) do not vary widely geographically or demographically. This is significant because it shows the pervasive effects of common consumer products on indoor air quality.