Get Rid of (Toxic) & Harmful Dust Particulates
Why is your household dust "toxic"?
Every home has dust, because dust is created by unavoidable airborne particles of fine, dry matter from the ground's surface - mostly animal dander, mold spores, human skin and hair, food particles, fabric fibers, sand, dirt, and insect waste. The particulates in dust vary from home to home, depending on a number of factors such as climate, number of occupants, and the occupants' habits (for example, in a home whose kitchen is used for a lot of baking, flour will most likely be a large contributing factor).
What's the difference between regular dust and toxic dust?
While regular household dust can certainly aggravate allergies, toxic dust contains more hazardous chemicals than you might think, including lead, fire retardants, and pesticides. In fact, in a study conducted by Silent Spring Institute, 66 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) were found in household dust - categorizing it as toxic dust. These chemicals originate from both the interior and exterior of the home: household items such as furniture, electronics, plastics, shoes, fabrics, clothing, and food can "shed" chemicals over time.
How does toxic dust affect your household?
When you're exposed to toxic chemicals, even at very low doses, your health is put at risk - and dust is simply a way for those toxic chemicals to infiltrate your house and reach your body. Because of their not-yet-developed immune systems, infants and young children are of special concern; they're more vulnerable to toxic exposures and ingest more dust than adults since they (and their toys) spend a lot of time on or near the floor. (Scientists once thought children were getting lead poisoning by chewing on windowsills but we've since learned that it's actually caused by lead being a component of toxic dust.) Environmental Working Group found that ingestion of these chemicals can cause deficits in learning as well as motor skill and memory development.
Tips to remove toxic dust from your home
- Vacuum routinely. Also be sure you vacuum is equipped with a HEPA-like (high efficiency particulate air) filter. HEPA vacuums help reduce concentrations of lead, phthalates and fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) and to help keep dust and dirt from being blown back out into the air in your home. Be sure you change the filter often, also preventing dirty air to be circulated back into the home.
- After vacuuming, mop any hard-surface flooring to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating. (Don't dry mop - this just stirs up dust.)
- Clean furniture with a microfiber or damp cotton cloth. Refrain from using man made chemical-filled sprays and wipes when you dust, as they add unwanted toxic chemicals to your environment.
- Have your air ducts cleaned regularly. Also, be sure to use high-quality filters and change them frequently.
- Choose cleaning products made from safer materials in an effort to prevent unwanted, harmful chemicals from becoming particulates in household dust.
More info? Check out our post: This Spring Clean With the Safer Choice to learn more about Safer Choice Cleaning options.