Home Health How households dust can pose health risks

How households dust can pose health risks


Many households in Kenya are unknowingly affected by dust that remains hidden in the window frames, household items and floors causing health hazards if the revelation of a new study is to go by, unfortunately, many Kenyans downplay this.

Researchers from Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University found out that dust from households can silently pose health risks – expose people to a variety of toxic chemicals.

Although the setting of the study originates from the United States, dust is commonly found in almost every household.

The length of exposure to the dust and the size may determine how dangerous it can be. Image: Courtesy

The team collected dust samples, analyzed them and find out di (2- ethyl hexyl) phthalate (DEHP), phenols and flame retardant chemicals were the top three deadly chemicals in the dust.

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“Our study is the first comprehensive analysis of consumer product chemicals found in household dust.

The findings suggest that people, and especially children, are exposed on a daily basis to multiple chemicals in dust that is linked to serious health problems.”, says the Lead author of the study, Ami Zota, ScD, MS, assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the Milken Institute.

Let’s talk about some of the chemicals in the household that will likely ignite the dust to contain hazardous components.

The meta-analysis of the study shows numerous potentially toxic chemicals that are used at homes including products such as baby, beauty, personal, care, cleaning and household furnishings.

According to Veena Singla, Ph.D., a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-author of the study, different products used in most households are harmful.

“The number and levels of toxic and untested chemicals that are likely in every one of our living rooms was shocking to me.

Harmful chemicals used in everyday products and building materials result in widespread contamination of our homes—these dangerous chemicals should be replaced with safer alternatives.”

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The length of exposure to the dust and the size may determine how dangerous it can be- although it could be visible or invisible. People who are easily affected are individuals suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma.

Inhaled dust can cause sneezing, coughing and irritation of the eyes. Crawling children are at risk of such dust.

Chemicals such as Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) found in dust can cause cancer.

We all know what to do to reduce the level of dust particles found in our households. Cleanliness is part of faith, as they say.

Regular cleaning of a household is one of the foolproof ways of doing away with dust and its health complications. Sweeping and mopping of floors, furniture, window frames, tables will greatly help.

Personal hygiene and keeping away from products that contain dangerous chemicals will enhance a safe stay at home.