10 Toxins Found in 90% of Indoor Dust Samples

And they could lead to everything from cancer and respiratory problems to lower IQ
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2016 3:31 PM CDT
Dust in Your Home Could Be Teeming With Toxins
Ugh.   (Wikimedia Commons)

We're surrounded by toxic chemicals, and even holing up in our meticulously kept homes may not save us, Time reports. Ten chemicals that may be hazardous to our health were found in over 90% of indoor dust samples taken for a study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal. And these chemicals are found in everyday items, including ones you may suspect (e.g., cleaning products, cellphones) and ones that may surprise you (toys, pizza boxes). Two of the most common toxins are phthalates—chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and thought to be linked to harmful effects on the endocrine system, which can lower IQ and lead to breathing troubles—and highly fluorinated chemicals, or HFCs, used to make items nonstick or waterproof but which are also tied to testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid issues, and liver malfunction, among other problems.

In what the study's authors say is the first mega-study of its kind, they scrutinized data from 26 past studies and one unpublished one, with dust containing 45 chemicals collected from homes, schools, and workplaces in 14 states, per Scientific American. The Toxic Substances Control Act was updated earlier this year, per the Atlantic, but the law only requires new chemicals get a green light from the EPA—leaving about 1,000 examination-worthy chemicals already on the market that the agency doesn't have the resources to study. "We think our homes are safe havens, but … the surprising reality [is] that our homes are being polluted by the products we have every day," co-author Veena Singla tells CBS News. How you can decrease your risk, the authors say, per CNN: Wash your hands regularly and use a strong vacuum with a HEPA filter. (Arkansas prisoners fear they were exposed to toxic dust.)

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