Children Exposed to Dangerous Chemicals in Furniture- Study Indicates


A large number of studies continue to shed light on the different sources of chemicals which may have a negative impact on human health. For example, studies have indicated that housecleaning products, fabric softener, and laundry detergents may lead to neurodevelopmental defects.

There are many shampoos, eye drops, and conditioners which may also contain these toxic substances.

The bleach commonly used by people to clean the homes, for instance, has been strongly linked with an increased risk of respiratory issues. These issues may include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly used as COPD.

Even the dental floss consists of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) which have been linked with certain types of cancer, high cholesterol, and thyroid problems.

A new study in this regard has indicated that these hazardous substances can be even more widespread than as of the researchers may have thought. The furniture present in the homes is also said to contain chemicals which may harm the health of adults and children, according to this new study.

The research was led by Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist. She along with her team presented the detailed research in the annual meeting that took place in Washington, DC.

Investigating the Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals

Stapleton along with her colleagues investigated the exposure of children to certain substances known as semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) in over 190 families. SVOCs refer to the harmful chemicals which are present in all the indoor environments. Building materials, electronics, and furniture all contain some level of SVOCs in them.

Not enough research has been conducted on SVOC and their effects on children are yet to be studied.

In this study, the team investigated how these dangerous substances affected 203 children over 3 years of time.

During this time, the researchers went through the samples of indoor dust, air, and foam present in the furniture of these children’s homes. The scientists also took samples of blood, urine, and hand wipes from each of these children.

The primary goal of the scientists was to find links between certain products and the exposure of children. They also struggled to check how this exposure happened e.g. whether it occurred through skin contact, breathing, or inhalation of dust.

Alarmingly High Levels of Phthalate in Urine

Overall speaking, the scientists quantified 44 biomarkers of exposure to organophosphate esters, phthalates, parabens, antibacterial agents, phenols, PFAs, and brominated flame retardants.

Specifically, children who lived in homes where the sofa was in the living room had six-times-higher concentrations of flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in their blood serum, compared with children living in homes that did not have PBDE-containing furniture.

Another finding of the same study indicated that children living in homes having vinyl floors had a 15 times higher levels of benzyl butyl phthalate in urine as compared to those living in homes with other types of floor.

Remember that previous research has shown a link between phthalates with wheezing, asthma, and abnormalities in the endocrine functions.

All in all, the results indicate the environment of homes children live in are a significant factor in determining their exposure to SVOCs.


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Samantha Issac
Samantha is a graduate of Medicine with masters in Public Health. Most of her writings are in medicinal tools, technology, and treatments. In addition to that, she is a freelance healthcare writer based in the USA.


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