Dust is an accumulation of many types of ultra tiny particles including those listed below. In addition to the diverse make up of what we consider "household dust", people need to be aware that dust also attracts pollution and harmful elements that can contribute to life-threatening diseases but are often disregarded as non-issues.
What makes up "household dust":
- Dead skin cells
- Live dust mites
- Dead dust mites and dust mite feces
- Pollen and allergens
- Combustion byproducts (smoke)
- Clothing fibers
- Pesticide residue
Newer homes also contribute:
- Drywall and cement dust
- Fresh paint fumes
- Off-gasing from new appliances
- Chemicals from flooring
- Adhesive fumes
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's)
Why Should You be Concerned?
When breathed in at an alarming rate of 50 billion particles per hour, the amount of dust contaminant ingestion is alarming. Dr. Stephen J. Gislason MD. (Air and Breathing, 2011) explains that "Fine-particulate air pollution is known to contribute to cardiovascular and lung disease, increasing the risk of heart attacks and a heart-related death". Couple that with the recent report on pesticide amounts found in household dust by the University of CA Berkeley (see below) and it is a wonder why anyone wouldn't be trying to purify their air of dust.
The Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH), School of Public Health at the University of California Berkeley (2011) conducted a study on the amounts of pesticides in house dust in multiple residential locations and the effects it has on young children especially. The results show that "young children are particularly vulnerable to adverse health effects that may result from pesticide exposures." They continue by giving reason for this danger stating that it could be due to "inadvertent ingestion of pesticide-contaminated dust due to their frequent hand-to-mouth activity and contact with indoor surfaces." To read the entire article, click here.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air." Airborne pollution contributes to minor annoyances such as itchy eyes, sneezing, dusty furniture and headaches but can also be a major contributing factor to severe allergies, life-threatening asthma and, as Dr. Gislason points out above, heart-related deaths. Because the majority of indoor air pollution is invisible to the naked eye, it is also small enough to be absorbed through the walls of your lungs and into your blood stream without you ever knowing it flew up your nose.
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