Researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University evaluated whether cleaning and hand washing can reduce exposure to flame retardants.
Flame retardant chemicals have been added to furniture and electronic products since the 1970s to comply with fire safety regulations. The use by manufacturers of organophosphorus flame retardants (OPFRS) has increased since 2005. OPFRs have been linked to endocrine disruption, decreased fertility and thyroid dysfunction in humans.
In this study, the researchers examined exposure to a commonly used OPFR, Tris (1,3-dichlorisopropyl) phosphate, known as Tris, and six other flame retardants. Read : Cleaning your home makes you eat healthy!
To badess whether hand washing and house cleaning effectively reduced exposure, participants were randomly badigned to one of two interventions, house cleaning or hand washing, during the first week of the study.
The house cleaning intervention group received microfiber mops, vacuum cleaners and microfiber cloths and were asked to increase the amount they cleaned their house that week.
The handwashing group was given soaps and asked to concentrate on washing their hands more than they usually do, especially before meals. During the second week of the study, all participants were asked to wash their hands and clean the house.
Urine samples were taken from the participants before the start of the study and after the first and second week of the intervention.
Tris was detected in 97 percent of the urine samples. After the first week of the intervention, the hand cleaning and washing group experienced a 47 percent decrease and a 31 percent decrease in the Tris levels measured in the urine, respectively.
Women with an above-average exposure before the intervention began 74 percent reduction in their levels after one week of cleansing.
After the second week of the study, when the participants were asked to clean and wash their hands, the levels of Tris measured in the urine decreased by 43 percent compared to the initial levels. Women with exposure levels higher than the average at the beginning experienced the greatest decrease, with their Tris levels falling by 62 percent. Similar trends were observed in the exposure levels for other OPFRs measured in this study. Read : How to clean your microwave oven
"The results imply that both hand washing and cleaning the house can be effective ways to reduce exposure to flame retardants and this evidence supports EPA recommendations, "said Elizabeth A. Gibson, the first author of the study.
"However, none of the reported fire retardants was reduced below the detection limit, which indicates that individual behavior can not completely reduce exposure."
"When people replace their old furniture," I have seen a reduction in exposure to the previous generation of flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, "Herbstman said.
The findings appear in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
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Published: June 28, 2018 1:58 pm