Ami Zota, Sc.D.
George Washington University
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 to multiple chemicals with adverse health effects via indoor dust.
From a literature search, the researchers identified 45 chemicals from five chemical classes measured in U.S. indoor dust in three or more data sets. By aggregating this data for the meta-analysis, they identified ten harmful chemicals that were present in 90 percent of the dust samples across multiple studies. The top ten list included five phthalates, with di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) found at the highest concentrations. Indoor dust also consistently contained phenols, flame retardants, and highly fluorinated chemicals. The analysis showed that phthalates and replacement flame retardants had the highest estimated intakes and that phthalates and perfluoroalkyl substances were associated with the greatest number 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 offer 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.