House Dust Could Actually Be Making Us Fatter

In need of some motivation to dig the hoover out this evening? Look no further, as a study has confirmed it wasn’t necessarily all those takeaways that made you put on weight, but could actually be due to the cleanliness of your home.  

A new study has found that chemical compounds commonly found in house dust are able to metabolically change cells in the human body, and cause them to accumulate more fat.

With a particularly profound effect on younger cells, leading to questions about the effects on children.

The team from the American Chemical Society looked at the role common environmental pollutants, such as flame retardants, pesticides, and plasticisers, play in spurring fat cells to take on more triglycerides.

Known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (ECCs), these compounds can be synthetic or naturally-occurring, and are able to replicate, mimic and generally interfere with the body’s hormones and reproductive, neurological and immune functionality.

You might wonder how these chemicals are getting into your body; as consumer goods in your home break down they release these compounds into the air, which we then inhale and absorb through our skin.

So it is important to know what they are doing to our bodies, as despite being reduced by manufacturers, they are still present in most products.

Looking at 11 dust samples from homes across North Carolina, the team tested them on mouse cells and found that early exposure can cause weight gain in later life.

Seven of the 11 dust samples triggered the pre-adipocytes to develop into mature fat cells and accumulate triglycerides, nine of the samples spurred the cells to divide, creating a larger pool of precursor fat cells, and one had no effect. 

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Just three micrograms a day were shown to affect the cells, which is much lower than the estimated 50 milligrams of accumulaf house dust consumed every day by children.

According to the NHS, one in four British adults is estimated to affect around one in every four adults and around one in every five children aged 10 to 11.

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