Study identifies top ten consumer product chemicals found in dust
By conducting a meta-analysis of data from dust samples collected throughout the United States, researchers funded by NIEHS identified the top ten consumer product chemicals found in household dust. The findings suggest that people are continually exposed via indoor dust to multiple chemicals that cause adverse health effects.
Using a literature search, the researchers identified 45 chemicals from five chemical classes that had been measured in U.S. indoor dust in three or more data sets. By combining these data in a meta-analysis, they identified 10 harmful chemicals that were present in 90 percent of the dust samples across multiple studies. The top 10 list included five phthalates, with di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate found at the highest concentrations. Indoor dust also consistently contained phenols, flame retardants, and highly fluorinated chemicals. The analysis estimated that phthalates and replacement flame retardants were taken in by the body in higher amounts than the other compounds. Phthalates and perfluoroalkyl substances were associated with the greatest number of health hazards. The study showed that many of the chemicals in dust were known to affect the reproductive and endocrine systems.
The new findings will be helpful for shaping future exposure and health studies, as well as informing intervention development and public policy. The researchers also offered recommendations to improve the comparability of future dust studies.
Citation: Mitro SD, Dodson RE, Singla V, Adamkiewicz G, Elmi AF, Tilly MK, Zota AR. 2016. Consumer product chemicals in indoor dust: a quantitative meta-analysis of U.S. studies. Environ Sci Technol 50(19):10661−10672.