House dust makes people fat


A pioneer study indicates that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the house dust may disrupt metabolic health and trigger an increase in body fat.


Duke University researchers exposed mouse derived pre-fat cells in small amounts of house dust containing endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). This caused the fat cells to mature and acquire more fat, or triglycerides.

Study co-author, Heather M. Stapleton, said, EDCs are man-made or naturally occurring chemicals that can interfere with hormone production and functioning. EDCs found in an array of products, including pesticides, cosmetics, food packaging, and household cleaning products.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a prominent type of EDC, phthalates, and flame retardants are among the most common EDCs. A mixture of these chemicals in house dust is promoting the accumulation of triglycerides and fat cells.

Household chemicals may cause birth defects


The research has shown that exposure to EDCs can raise the risk of serious health conditions, including cancer, infertility, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Exposure to EDCs in utero has also linked to an increased risk of weight gain and obesity in childhood.

To reach their findings, the researchers analyzed the house dust samples for levels of EDCs, and identified 44 contaminants. Next, the researchers tested extracts of each dust sample on 3T3-L1 cells, which are precursor adipocyte cells derived from mice. These cells commonly used to assess how specific compounds influence the buildup of triglycerides, a type of fat.

Among the 44 house dust contaminants tested in the experiment, pyraclostrobin (pesticide), the flame-retardant TBPDP, and DBP, a commonly used plasticizer, had the strongest fat-producing effects.

Amounts of dust as low as 3 micrograms well below the mass of dust that children exposed to daily cause measurable effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has previously estimated that children consume 50 milligrams of house dust each day.

While further studies needed to gain better understanding of how house dust might interfere with metabolic health, the researchers believe that their findings are a cause for concern.

More information: [ACS]