Studies on dust have exposed the presence of 271 chemicals, some of which are classified as chemicals of “emerging concern”.

Environmental Science and Technology reported a study on residential house dust. They found shocking results, “from dust ingestion, inhalation, and dermal uptake from air, and then identified hazard traits from the Safer Consumer Products Candidate Chemical List. Our results indicate that U.S. indoor dust consistently contains chemicals from multiple classes. Phthalates occurred in the highest concentrations, followed by phenols, replacement flame retardants, fragrance, and perfluoroalkyl substances. Several phthalates and RFRs had the highest residential intakes. We also found that many chemicals in dust share hazard traits such as reproductive and endocrine toxicity.”

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They reported a quantitative meta-analysis of U.S. studies including studies following contaminants in residential dust, dust in cars, and non-residential environments. A meta-analysis is a study of studies. They reported consistent findings of phenols, replacement flame retardants, fragrances, and perfluoroalkyl substances. These items cause problems in reproduction, especially in women, developmental hazards, are known to cause cancer, known to cause damage in the immune system, and known to damage the endocrine system.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports, “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.”

They go on to say, “PFAS are found in a wide range of consumer products that people use daily such as cookware, pizza boxes and stain repellants. Most people have been exposed to PFAS. Certain PFAS can accumulate and stay in the human body for long periods of time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. The most-studied PFAS chemicals are PFOA and PFOS. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animals.”

They are found in products such as stain-repellent sprays, water-repellent sprays, nonstick products such as Teflon, different polishing products, waxes, paint, cleaning products, fire-fighting foam, chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, and oil recovery processes. High levels are found in water and soil associated with run-off from firefighting training facilities at airports and military bases.

Contaminants in dust are most concerning to babies and toddlers. NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) reports, “Young children are at higher risk for exposure to chemicals in indoor dust because they come into much more contact with this dust when they crawl, play on the floor, and put their hands in their mouths. Children may also be more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals because their brains and bodies are still developing.

One study found 100% of the dust samples contained phthalates, 98 to 100% of them contained fire retardants, while 90 to 100% of the samples contained phenols.

Phthalates are used in making plastic softer and flexible. It is especially found in vinyl, such as PVC products, like vinyl flooring, vinyl blinds, and vinyl packaging, but is also what makes up the water pipes in construction, including construction of new homes. It is also found in personal care products and products that contain fragrances. There were eight different chemicals found in this class in the dust samples.

Phenols are used as a preservative in shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, and are used in plastic products like reusable water bottles and cleaning products. There were ten different chemicals from this class found in the dust samples.

Flame retardants are used in making furniture, baby products, electronics, and insulation. These retardants are used to meet flammability standards. Fifteen chemicals in this class were found in dust samples.

Fragrances are used in personal care products, cleaning products, perfumes, candles, air fresheners, and sprays. One chemical fragrance was found in the dust samples.

Fluorinated Chemicals, also called PFCs or PFASs, are used as stain- and water-repellent treatments, as well as in nonstick cookware, pizza boxes, and other grease proof items like popcorn bags. Eleven of these chemicals were found in the dust.

Pediatric Research reported finding lead in house dust saying, “An increase in floor dust lead from 10 to 40 μg/ft2 was associated with 26% higher blood lead concentrations. The EPA’s residential dust lead regulations place children at increased risk of lead poisoning.”

Further study shows dust contains what goes on in the environment in which the dust exists. Environmental Health Perspectives reported a study showing antibiotics in dust. The dust was tested from a piggery, where the pigs were fed antibiotics. The antibiotics were in their stool and subsequently in the air, then in the dust. They reported, “We investigated dust samples collected during two decades from the same piggery for the occurrence of various antibiotics. In 90% of these samples, we detected up to five different antibiotics, including tylosin, various tetracyclines, sulfamethazine, and chloramphenicol, in total amounts up to 12.5 mg/kg dust.  Further risks may arise from the inhalation of dust contaminated with a cocktail of antibiotics. Apart from that, our data provide first evidence for a new route of entry for veterinary drugs in the environment.”

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.

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