Household dust emanating from mattresses and TVs contain possibly hazardous chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The study was conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Environmental Protection Agency of the USA reveals.
It is not yet clear how dangerous these PBDEs are, though some types are banned in most parts of Europe. Their structure is strikingly similar to that of PCBs, which are suspected of causing cancer.
The most commonly observed health effects in people exposed to large amounts of PCBs are skin conditions such as chloracne and rashes, it has been found.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of organic compounds and PCB mixtures have been used for a variety of industrial applications, including in the manufacture of adhesives and plastics.
The United States Congress bans the domestic production of PCBs in 1977, although it is still used in electrical equipment like capacitors and transformers.
Here are some tips to avoid the PBDEs while cleaning up. People are advised to vacuum and dust regularly and use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter. Also, try to avoid sweeping, which only circulates dust.
Used vacuum filters should be put inside bags and closed tightly before they are thrown away. As far as possible one should avoid touching the used filters.
Fresh air and ventilation can help dilute indoor concentrations of the PBDEs, and hence one should keep windows open as much as possible. Since air conditioners mean fresh air is blocked from blowing in, use of A.C. filters is advised.
While the chemical is present in any foam-product, cotton and wool are free of it and hence they may be used for upholstery.
Even while buying a personal computer or cell phone, one may check out whether the manufacturer has avoided using PBDEs.