The center of urban health director and professor of earth science, Gabriel Filippelli in a recent publication said that dust particles like flame retardants and surface protectants find their way into the human blood and tissue, even in newborns.
This statement was made by Filippelli in his publication titled “What does the dust in your home mean for your health?” and first published it on The Conversation, then later in the Washington Post.
Dust consists of atmospheric particles significantly contributed by soil and air pollution. In homes and offices, the dust, in addition, usually contains also animal hair, textile fibers, and human skin cells.
The geochemist in conjunction with Mark Taylor, an environmental scientist, is currently working on a research project named 360 Dust Analysis. The project, according to him will be studying indoor dust.
“I’m conducting a research project on the indoor exposome,” Filippelli said.
Exposome according to him is concerned with the amount of environmental exposure an individual experience throughout a lifetime.
“… exposome includes everything from secondhand smoke when you were a baby to lead exposure in your childhood to particulate matter if you grew up near a major roadway or industrial facility.”
“Dust is a big component of the exposome. What particles are you inhaling and ingesting as you go about your day?”
According to Filippelli, about one-third of household dust is generated from inside the house. The dust constituent is determined by house construction and age. Likewise, the climate and lifestyle of the inhabitant such as smoking are other determining factors of the dust components.
Explaining the remaining two-third dust source, the scientist said it comes from outside the house. The dust blows in through the house windows and doorways when opened.
“This dirt and dust are tracked in on shoes and on the feet and fur of pets. It blows in through open windows and doorways and vents. And it ranges in size and composition from gritty silt to irritating pollen to the finest of soil particles.”
While commenting on the health concerns about what we put in our homes, the scientist noted that several indoor disinfection products could be blamed for antimicrobial resistance.
In his analysis, the indoor dust is the one that gets into our bodies more. The government policy was highlighted by Filippelli as a major contributor to this.
“For decades, manufacturers have chemically treated clothing and furniture with flame retardants and surface protectants. In fact, for some time, the flame retardants were required by law in furniture and children’s sleepwear.”
“But then researchers started identifying them in human blood and tissue, and even newborns showed evidence of exposure in utero.”
In his comment on the health hazards of dust from outdoor, Filippelli said: “One of the most widespread health issues related to outdoor sources is lead.”
He noted that lead is most abundant as part of the dust particles in urban areas, location close to mining and other industrial areas where lead is used. This lead could lead to children poisoning and disability.
In his closing statements, Filippelli advised everybody to adopt a shoeless household policy and avoid taking outdoor shoes inside the house to reduce the indoor exposure to outdoor pollutants.