Dust in the apartment is hazardous to health: it contains hazardous chemicals

Dust in the apartment is hazardous to health due to harmful chemicals

The scientists concluded that household dust that is filled with dwellings, contains chemicals hazardous to health. Back to the 1970s, the chemicals called brominated flame retardants were added to a variety of household consumer products, from electronics to upholstery to sofas and carpets. First of all, they were designed to improve fire safety. But one form of these chemical compounds is polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs proved to be harmful to human health, especially to the hormonal system.

Many countries are gradually introducing restrictions on the use of PBDEs, but many households still use furniture and electronics that contain these hazardous compounds. A new research shows that indoor concentrations of these chemicals are high and most commonly found in dust.


The scientists at Memorial University of Canada attempted to find bromine in household dust using the synchrotron X-ray method. They were able to identify the presence of bromine, and thus they confirmed once again that a person is regularly exposed to chemical compounds at home, either by contact with objects or by inhaling dust deposits.

The researchers tested about 20 dust samples collected from the countryside. According to the researcher Peter Blanshire, the scientists were initially unsure whether the concentration of bromine would be high enough for registration.

However, in all tested samples, there was a lot of bromine, in some it was possible to identify its species, which turned out to be characteristic of brominated flame retardants. It is important because previous studies have failed to distinguish brominated flame retardants from other brominated compounds.


The results indicate that most people urgently need to renovate their homes. Throw away old furniture and appliances and acquire new modern household items and electronics so as not to endanger your life.

Reference: “Evaluating the use of synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy in investigating brominated flame retardants in indoor dust” by Peter Blanchard, Nicole Babichuk and Atanu Sarkar, 29 August 2020, Environmental Science and Pollution Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-020-10623-4