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House dust may contribute to obesity, US study suggests
17 July 2017

House dust may contribute to obesity, US study suggests

15 July 2017, United States

US researchers may have found more evidence that house dust exposure can boost fat storage.

A team led by Heather Stapleton from Duke University exposed cells in vitro to 11 indoor dust extracts before measuring levels of triglyceride – the main constituent of body fat – and fat cell proliferation.

Ten of the extracts caused "significant" triglyceride accumulation and/or cell proliferation at environmentally relevant levels.

The fat boosting activity occurred at levels below US EPA exposure estimates for children.

The results raise concerns for human health impacts, particularly in children, write the researchers in Environmental Science and Technology.

In separate tests, the researchers exposed the cells directly to a range of semi-volatile organic chemicals, including flame retardants such as isopropylated triaryl phosphates, to see similar results.

In 2015, Professor Stapleton's team reported that chemicals in house dust can activate a receptor linked to obesity.