Reduce Dust In The Home

What we call dust is a complex mixture of pet dander, fungal spores, tiny particles, soil tracked in on your feet, carpet fibers, human hair and skin. Dust itself is an allergen and it can contain harmful chemicals. If you reduce dust in the home you will reduce toxins in your home.

How does the dust enter our body?

Dust with chemicals can enter the body through,

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Through the skin

Important points about toxic chemicals found in our homes

  • The presence of a chemical does not necessarily mean a health danger.
  • It is important to know what substances are present as well as the amount that is present.

What can you do to reduce the dust levels in the home

  • Clean and dust more often.
  • Avoid synthetic chemical filled synthetic sprays and wipes
  • Use a wet cloth microfiber
  • Use chemical free household cleaners. You can find a ton of them here. Search Thieves.
  • Open windows to allow ventilation
  • Limit carpets and heavy draperies that accumulate dust. If you have them, remember to have them cleaned.
  • Use a strong vacuum with a HEPA filter
  • Use air filters
  • Avoid flame retardants.
  • Dust electronic equipment. They are a common source of chemical flame retardants. Some manufacturers have eliminated unnecessary chemical flame retardants. Ask before you buy and support companies that have committed to going PBDE-free.
  • Stick to furniture made from wood and natural fibers like cotton and wool
  • Remove shoes upon entering your home.
  • Caulk cracks ro reduce dust collection.

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According to EWG

“Consider replacing foam products, like upholstered furniture, padded high-chair seats and chair cushions, made between 1970 and 2005. These items likely contain PBDE flame retardants. If you can’t replace them, try to keep the covers intact and clean them more often.”

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Wash hands which will limit contaminated dust from entering the body.

    • Wet mop hard floors to clear extra dust.
    • Ensure that if yo have young children they are crawling around on floors that have been recently cleaned.
    • Wash your hands as well as young children’s hands often to remove particles that could have accumulated.
    • Avoid cleaning products that have harsh chemicals.

reduce dust in the homeReduce Dust In The Home -The science

Researches at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University published a recent study in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal which showed that household dust contains a wide range of toxic chemicals. These chemicals can potentially expose people to harmful compounds in their own homes. 

Information about the study

  • Multiple homes in numerous states were examined.
  • Over 90% of the samples contained harmful toxic chemicals.

“The multi-institutional team conducted a first-of-a-kind meta-analysis, compiling data from dust samples collected throughout the United States to identify the top ten toxic chemicals commonly found in dust. Over 45 compounds were identified.”

What chemicals were found in the dust?

  • DEHP which is a phthalate. Phthalates are used to soften plastics and act as solvents. They are used to make cosmetics, vinyl flooring and toys. According to the study, phthalates are thought to interfere with hormones in the body which may affect reproductive and developmental health. They may affect children’s IQ and lead to breathing problems.
  • TDCIPP is used as a flame retardant. It is found in furniture, baby products and other household items. These flame retardants make their way into our air.
  • Phenols are chemicals used in cleaning products and other household items.
  • PFOA and PFOS which are fluorinated chemicals. They are found in cellphones, pizza boxes and stain-resistant products. According to the article, “These chemicals have been linked to problems of the immune, digestive, developmental and endocrine systems.”

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How do the the toxic chemicals get into the dust?

Chemicals from consumer products such as furniture, building materials and household cleaners are released into the air and get into dust. This dust can then settle on household items or on the floor.

Reference-Sept. 14 in Environmental Science & Technology.

How do you reduce dust in the home?

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