Although a number of smaller studies have explored the presence of common toxins in household dust, researchers from three prominent universities in the United States wanted to gain a broader view of everyday exposure to indoor dust chemicals and what impact it may have on human health.
Scientists from George Washington University, Harvard University and the University of California gathered information from a number of current studies focusing on consumer product chemicals lingering in household dust. According to their findings, harmful chemicals including phthalates, phenols, flame retardants and fluorinated chemicals—many of which have been linked to health problems while some have not even been tested for potential harm—are found in high concentrations in most American homes.
Study co-author Veena Singla expressed her concern in a news release, saying, “The number and levels of toxic and untested chemicals that are likely in every one of our living rooms was shocking to me. Harmful chemicals used in everyday products and building materials result in widespread contamination of our homes—these dangerous chemicals should be replaced with safer alternatives.”
Recommendations for reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in household dust include using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particle absorption (HEPA) filter, opting for chemical-free cleaning and personal care products, choosing furniture and other items made without the use of flame-retardant chemicals, avoiding non-stick cookware and frequently hand washing (especially before eating).