New Research: Household Dust Can Lead To Cancer And Developmental Issues In Children

No matter how much you clean, household dust will always be there and it is such a common issue that we rarely think about it. But, this annoying problem can cause much greater issues to your children. Ordinary items like knick-knacks, non-stick cookware, toys, even pizza boxes release toxic chemicals into the air that become potentially hazardous dust particles.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, dust contains up to 45 harmful chemicals, out of which ten have been found in 90% of the dust samples compiled.

Among the chemicals found is also the flame retardant TCEP that has been known to cause cancer and is commonly used in furniture, building materials, and baby products.

The most common ones found in the dust were phthalates. They are used to soften plastics in children’s toys and are also used in cosmetics. Phthalates have been linked to hormonal interference, declines in IQ and respiratory problems as well. Chemicals in the dust have also been linked to obesity and reproductive problems such as infertility.

The lead author and assistant professor of environmental and occupational health Ami Zota stated the following:

“The findings suggest that people, and especially children, are exposed on a daily basis to multiple chemicals in dust that are linked to serious health problems […] exposure to even small amounts of chemicals in combination can lead to amplified health risk, especially for developing infants and young mothers”.

You may think that frequent dust cleaning can decrease the risk for these health issues, but chemical concentrations can quickly add up. Luckily, there are ways to somehow avoid the ailments including:

  • Avoiding any products containing harmful and problematic chemicals such as phthalates DEP, DEHP, DNBP, DIBP, phenols and highly fluorinated chemicals (HFCs)
  • Washing your hands and your children’s hands frequently
  • Install the app called Detox Me where you can find tips on limiting daily exposure to chemicals such as: replacing vinyl shower curtains with nylon or using fragrance-free cleaning products can make the air in your home healthier

And one more thing: don’t save spring cleaning only for spring.


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