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Another Major Reason to Keep Your Home Dust Free

Last month, I posted a news item about the increasing spread of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) -- a lethal flame retardant -- into Lake Michigan. Common house dust may be an important source of PBDEs, according to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and EPA.

The joint survey of 17 homes in Washington, D.C., and Charleston, S.C., found high concentrations of PBDEs in household dust, ranging from 700-30,100 nanograms per gram. Researchers analyzed both dust from floors and clothes dryer lint for 22 variants of commercial PBDEs and found them in EVERY sample.

Although the new study is limited, there's good reason to study house dust as the primary source of PBDE exposure. Particularly, small children are more at risk than adults to dust exposures since they are more prone to putting dusty hands and toys in their mouths.

According to previous research, like PCBs and DDT, PBDEs are a persistent organic pollutant, meaning it can remain in the environment for years without breaking down. Some of these pollutants have such an affinity for fat, they build up in the bodies of humans and other animals from before birth until death.

Science Daily January 7, 2005

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