The Link Between Dust and Obesity
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Obesity is now estimated to affect one-third of the globe and it’s a red flag that something is wrong with our health. It’s not a natural state. With such a rise in this devastating health problem, it’s clear that the scrutiny cannot be entirely laid on the forks of the afflicted.
Sure – some of the blame can be placed on poor diets and lack of movement, but how quickly we forget our exposure to the elements and our hard-working bodies which are overburdened by them. Some researchers have found yet another thing to be concerned about: pollutants hiding in our homes. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals to be exact.
Experts discovered that chemicals found in the dust in several households could force fat cells to multiply. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs are the chemicals in question that were widely used beginning in the early 1950s, meaning that many houses and buildings likely have them circulating around.
The chemicals are found to disrupt the natural function of fat cells, which is what concerns the researchers. EDCs can both interfere and mimic hormones in the body. They are present in more than just the dust of a home but also in things like flame retardant materials on furniture. Examples of EDCs include phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA).
These chemicals cannot only be inhaled, but they can also be ingested or simply absorbed through the skin, especially when the pores are open. It may be possible to be susceptible after a warm shower or when it is hot outside. (It might be time to try a hot-cold shower!)
Now that we know the chemical problems that house dust can pose, it’s all the more motivation to keep our homes clean. Preventing furniture with EDCs from entering the home to begin with would be ideal. Newer homes can prevent some of the problems of old homes, but they pose their own problems, such as being airtight which some people say traps mold.
If you’re worried, it might be time test your home or yourselves. You can also start using tools to reduce house dust such as negative ion machines, charcoal, or natural beeswax candles, which help collect dust from the air and bring it down to the floor. Then, you can sweep or vacuum it up.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.