Who knew dust was so complicated.
And why should it be different on that account, than any other constant in our lives. So what exactly is dust and how does it affect us? Does it matter where it lands? Evidently so. The evidence stacks up the claim that the dust that settles on your television is far more dangerous than the dust on the coffee table in the same room.
Apparently dust in outer space is considered far more primitive than dust here on earth. “Who cares” we mutter as we dust on. But in these matters, content is king. According to William Bray on “The Mad Scientist Network, he states “…household dust is composed of primarily things like human’s skin and hair, waxes, pollen, mold, fungi lichen, (and in the disco ’70;s lots and lots of polyester), foam, rubber,…” He just goes on and on. Where are dust mites on his list? Absent as they and their feces are considered to be a by-product of the dust itself. Dust mites are responsible for allergies, asthma, and other aliments, A Danish dust mite study released in April of 2008 discovered that no product currently on the market has a significant impact on the symptoms described by many patients. In fact, most of these products, even the mattress covers and pillow covers that are mass marketed leave behind allergens and a chemical foot print which further aggravated asthma and causes multiple allergic reaction of their own accord.
However the most dangerous dust in my book is the chemical kind. From asbestos, of course, but also from many common household synthetic chemical compounds such as dyes, cosmetics, furniture, paints, stains, plastics, and even ice cream. TV dust contains flame retardant chemicals which are considered quite harmful in general, and specifically, are believed to be endocrine disrupters. The name for these particular chemicals are called PBDE’s in short hand. But more importantly, I now know why the TV always has the most dust – it happens when the flame retardants inherent in the television set components heat up. Many in the scientific community are very concerned when we all switch to digital signals. That technical progression will ensure greater use of flame retardants, and it takes many years for them to dissolve.
If all this wasn’t enough, household dust is the major culprit for feline thyroid disease. Cats are constantly grooming themselves and they ingest more of the harmful PBDE’s, the flame retardant chemicals that are found in carpets, upholstery, and their very own bedding than we can imagine.
So what can we do now:
Dust and carefully wipe down all surfaces regularly with a damp microfiber cloth. Wash it and reuse. Boring but effective. This is the cornerstone of green cleaning.
Wipe the TV front and back after every prolonged use with a damp microfiber cloth.
Do not use any additional cleaning or polishing agents while dusting. The point it so remove the dust, not create a climate where dust will be attracted to various product residue as well as create chemical off gassing. You will save money as well!
Regularly vacuum your upholstery, draperies, and carpeted
areas. Vacuum your mattress every few months. Get it steamed cleaned, front, back and sides every 18 months. Cover your mattress and pillows with non-chemical fabric covers.
Don’t use clay based kitty liter and brush your cat regularly. Consider cutting/shaving your cat’s fur once in awhile. Mend any pet bedding that a rip or tear as soon as possible.
Change your AC filters regularly, and get your air ducts cleaned and sanitized with plant based solutions rather than chemical sanitizers.
Open your windows to help remove ongoing out gassing and VOC’s from ordinary household chemicals and objects. Yes, it may bring in a bit of that dreaded dust but the pay off is greater in terms of your health and well being.