Dust in Your Home Could Be Making You Fat

Grab your cleaning supplies: After reading about this new research, we guarantee the (rubber) gloves are going on.

Exposure to chemicals in house dust can lead to increased fat buildup and production.
Credit: kzenon/iStock/GettyImages

Researchers at Duke University have discovered a link between exposure to certain chemicals found in dust particles that could lead to increased fat buildup. Yes, your dusty home might be making you fat. Yikes!

Read more: 50 Things You Need to Throw Out Now

According to the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, house dust that contains endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can disrupt metabolic hormones and cause the body's cells to store more fat.

These man-made EDCs are chemicals that can be found in everyday household items like electronics, cosmetics, flame-retardant coatings on furniture and food additives and packaging.

Previous research has shown that frequent exposure to EDCs increases the risk of health conditions like breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and developmental delays and hyperactivity in children.

Are you cleaning yet? Hold on, there's more!

This new study is the first in analyzing the role EDCs play in influencing fatty cell production. To study the effects and prevalence in house dust, researchers surveyed and collected dust from 11 North Carolina homes and extracted 44 different contaminants. They then tested these on cells extracted from mice to determine the possible effects on fat buildup in the human body.

The findings revealed that EDCs present in dust trigger a buildup of triglyceride fat in the body. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the human body, and having high levels of them can lead to an increased risk of heart disease or diabetes.

"This suggests that the mixture of these chemicals in house dust is promoting the accumulation of triglycerides and fat cells," said Dr. Heather Stapleton, one of the Duke University researchers on the study.

Out of the 11 houses surveyed, seven houses' dust samples triggered the cells to increase fat reserves, while in nine houses, the chemicals in the dust led to more precursor fat cells. "Only one of 11 dust samples appeared completely inactive," the research stated, which means there is a very high chance that these chemicals exist in an indoor environment.

What's most concerning, though, is that, according to the study, very low amounts of dust — as low as 3 micrograms — caused measurable effects. That number is considerably lower than the 27 micrograms of dust a day that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in 2011 that the average child between the ages of 3 and 6 ingests.

So even though this study was done on mice rather than people, it wouldn't hurt to keep household dust under control. Read more about how your home can affect your weight here, and here are some great natural cleaning brands to keep your home sparkling!

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What Do YOU Think?

Is this news about EDCs surprising to you? Will you become motivated to clean your house more often, or will you take the chances? Let us know in the comments below!

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