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House Dust Might Be Increasing Your Body Fat: Study

Scientists at Duke University have offered up a new reason to get busy dusting around the house. According to New York Daily News, researchers have found that dust contains endocrine disrupters that not only can damage your reproductive system, metabolic rate and heart, but also can spur your body to create more fat cells — and possibly cause you to gain weight. The source of the disruptors come from common household products such as flame retardants, cosmetics, packaging and cleaning supplies.

House cleaning aside, this new study shows just how serious these tiny particles that we often ignore can be to our health. This adds to research in college dorms that showed high levels of toxic flame retardants in dust samples from the dorms. Four particular flame retardants were found in 100 percent of the dust samples, with three being suspected carcinogens.

When it comes to household products including packaging and plastic dishes, the most pervasive contaminants are bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. BPA is found in hard plastics such as reusable bottles and food containers, the lining of canned goods, cashier's receipts, dental sealants and more. Phthalates are found in disposable water bottles, shower curtains, food packaging, vinyl gloves used during medical procedures and food preparation, vinyl flooring, household cleaners, cosmetics, personal care products and more.

Luckily, you can protect yourself from these things by, first, refusing to purchase items that contain flame retardants, BPA and phthalates. If possible, avoid using older furniture which may have foam and padding with flame retardants in them. Also, remember to keep your home (or dorm room) well-ventilated, and be sure to vacuum, mop and dust your home — and don’t forget pillows and bedding, which can contain a large amount of dust and dust mites.
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