Daily News Archive
Disrupting Chemicals in Indoor Air and Dust in Homes
Chemicals with the highest concentrations in both dust and air include phthalates and alkylphenols. The number of chemicals detected in a home ranged from 13-28 for indoor air and from 6-42 for dust. The average number of chemicals per home was 19 for air and 26 for dust.
Indoor air concentrations measured on Cape Cod are generally similar to levels reported elsewhere, according to the study authors. For pesticides, levels of DDT, carbaryl, chlordane, methoxychlor, propoxur, and pentachlorophenol appear higher on Cape Cod than in other regions; while levels of diazinon and permethrin appear lower, and chlorpyrifos appears similar.
According to the
Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit scientific research organization
that oversaw the study, there are no regulatory standards for contaminants
in indoor air and house dust. In addition, there is no comprehensive
list of endocrine disrupting chemicals, and most of the 87,000 chemicals
in use have not been tested to determine whether they affect hormone
systems. U.S. EPA has issued health-based exposure guidelines for about
half of the compounds in the study. Where these guidelines exist, levels
measured are often below the guidelines. However, for 15 compounds,
including bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (from plastics) and some pesticides
and PCBs that are currently banned, we measured levels in some samples
that exceeded the guidelines. These chemicals are still found in and
around homes worldwide, sometimes at levels exceeding health guidelines,
because they break down very slowly.