If you skipped out on your spring cleaning this year and also packed on a few pounds over the last few months, you better pick up that Swiffer and get to dusting your dirty abode. A new study from the American Chemical Society that appeared in the journal Environmental Science & Technology has discovered that regular house dust can contain common pollutants that have been linked to obesity.
It sounds kind of nuts, but there are certain compounds called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, like noted (and widely phased out) plastic bottle ingredient bisphenol-A, that can imitate hormones and mess with the body’s endocrine system, which helps regulate metabolism among many other crucial functions that keep the body in balance. BPA caused controversy a few years ago when it was found to leach out of plastic, and prompted a ground of 38 scientists who reviewed hundreds of studies on it to state that the chemical is “associated with organizational changes in the prostate, breast, testis, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry, and behavior of laboratory animals.”
For the study, researchers collected dust samples from 11 houses and made extracts of what they collected. They then added it to mouse cells that are precursors to fat cells, and found that extracts from seven of the 11 samples prompted the cells to progress into mature fat cells, with nine of the extracts making the cells actually divide, creating more fat cells. Effects were seen from amounts as low as 3 micrograms, which is much lower than the average amount of dust we inhale each day—the EPA pegs it at around 50mg daily.
The compounds that were found to have the most fat-producing effects were a pesticide called pyraclostrobin, flame-retardant TBPDP, and a plasticizer named DBP. Perhaps weekly household chores like dusting should be added into your weight-loss routine.
We also recommend some of these upper-body routines that will help get you in prime dusting shape, and will help keep you from getting fat regardless of the amount of potentially fat-creating dust you inhale every day.