While vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning furniture, you may have wondered why you clean every day but never run out of dust? Even with doors and windows tightly closed, a thin layer of dust will still fall and settle on surfaces after only a few days. What exactly are they (dirt)? They How does it affect our health?
To find out the answer, don’t throw the dust in the trash, take it to scientists to check.
And don’t feel bad if you don’t know anything about dust either. In fact, scientists also don’t know much about the source of the particles or the indoor atmosphere, nor the risks to their health. However, they have been studying them systematically.
To better quantify the impact of indoor environments on health, scientists use a research approach “exposomes”. Simply put, this is a long-term research method, count to all the environmental exposures a person experiences during a lifetime. Types of pThese environmental vapors include childhood tobacco smoke exposure, childhood lead exposure or particulate matter exposure when a child lives near arterial roads or facilities. industry.
And dust is one of the important parts of the exposure process. A research project on indoor dust exposure was carried out with the participation of geochemist Gabriel Filippelli, environmental scientist Mark Taylor and other international academics. They bring together ordinary families to participate in research, even asking these volunteers to conduct science experiments. After using the vacuum cleaner, these families can pack the dust from the device’s filter bag into a sealed bag and send it to a lab for analysis. These diverse dust sources help scientists understand the health effects of particulate matter in the home environment.
What exactly is dust?
About a third of indoor dust is generated from the inside of the house itself. However, due to differences in the structure, age of the home, cleaning habits, and different preferences such as smoking, there is no one standard “recipe” for dirt.
In general, ingredients The most common are debris from the shedding process of human skin cells. If you have a pet, their hair will also fall out and the dust will contain the pet’s skin cells and dust mites on the skin.
Traces of indoor activity can also show up in the dust, such as food, fibers and nuts. House dust also contains the bodies of small organisms, like some insects that crawl into the house and die inside.
Reading this far, maybe many people have started to feel disgusted. But there’s still more to it than that. The dust mixture was also found to contain man-made chemicals, such as flame retardants and surface protectants used to protect clothing and furniture.
And that’s only a third of the ingredients, the other two-thirds come from the outside. Dirt can get on your pet’s shoes, feet, and fur. Opening windows, doors, and vents can also allow dust to enter. These dusts also vary in size and composition, from silt, pollen, to soil particles.
Chemicals in dust can affect health
Some types of dust can be dangerous to human health. Just as freon in refrigerants and other products contributes to ozone depletion, so can bisphenol A, a plasticizer used in bottles and consumer product packaging. People. Scientists are concerned that while synthetic chemicals can help improve people’s lives unknowingly, some harmful stuff from them could also get mixed up with dust and fly around.
Researchers have found the chemical molecules of flame retardants, and existing evidence suggests that even infants have been exposed to these particles in utero. Most of these molecules get into your bloodstream by inhaling or ingesting house dust. Currently, there are several studies that measure the potentially toxic levels of these chemicals in human body systems. At the same time, scientists are also developing personal wearables, such as silicone bracelets, to determine the relationship between these dust sources and the amount of dust that will eventually enter the body.
And there is one more thing you should worry about, that is, the antibiotic resistance of bacteria in indoor dust is also increasing. Many studies have found a link between certain household disinfectant products and bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics. At least one study has found that elevated levels of triclosan, an antibacterial commonly found in hand sanitizers, are associated with high levels of antibiotic resistance genes that come from bacteria in dust. When people wash their hands or clean their homes, this removes most bacteria and other microorganisms, but leaves bacteria with mutant resistance genes that continue to grow and multiply in numbers. large amounts.
As for dust from outdoor sources, the most common health hazard is lead. The lead problem is particularly acute in urban areas and near mining sites or industrial areas. After a century of human abuse of leaded gasoline and the use of biodegradable lead paint, these toxins can sometimes accumulate to extremely high levels in soil and dust. Lead contaminated soil and the dust they produce are closely linked to lead poisoning in children. Because children’s nerves are still in a period of rapid development, the neurotoxicity of lead exposure can last a lifetime in a child.
The studies mentioned above currently collect only limited and correlative evidence, and more evidence is needed to reveal the specific health effects of dust particles. Therefore, we do not need to panic, but let’s start mopping the floor three times a day.
And, there are some principles Simple can be applied quickly.
First, the indoor environment is pet-free and without a lot of clothing helps reduce potential dust and toxins in the home, and can make it less vulnerable to people with allergies or respiratory conditions. If you have a lot of fabric in your home, or have a dog or cat, you will likely need a higher level of cleanliness.
Second, when you get home, take off outdoor clothing like a jacket and don’t wear shoes indoors. This is a simple way to reduce the introduction of outdoor pollutants into the home. Be aware that 96% of shoe soles contain fecal bacteria, including Clostridioides difficile – the bacteria that cause pseudomembranous colitis – and more than 90% of these bacteria can be spread to the floor. Combined with the residual carcinogenic toxins from the asphalt, the soles of shoes when stepping on the lawn can carry herbicides that can cause endocrine disruption… Therefore, the advice here is not to go. outdoor shoes into the house.
Finally, try to avoid over-disinfecting your home with chemicals, so as not to “feed” drug-resistant superbugs. Using an indoor air purifier can be better than regular cleaning.