The mystery of why some people have higher levels of certain flame retardants in their bodies than others may hinge on simple house dust, according to a recent study by a team of U.S. scientists. Prior studies point to dust and food as major sources of exposure to PBDE chemicals yet questions remained about the importance of dust as a source.
This study clarifies dust’s role because it is the first to compare levels of flame retardants in house dust with levels in the people who live in the same house. The scientists report that while some foods do harbor PBDEs, eating and breathing dust seems to be the main source of exposure in the United States. Dust, then, may provide an easy and accurate way to predict exposures in the people who live in the home, the researchers explain.