Doing TWO THINGS may protect you from harmful chemicals

Go ahead and wash your hands, it may not just protect you from germs, but from unhealthy chemicals that can be found in your home. Researchers from Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University had 32 women either house clean or wash their hands for the first week of the study. The house cleaning intervention group was given microfiber mops, vacuums, and microfiber cloths and asked to increase the amount they cleaned their home that week. The handwashing group was given hand soaps and asked to focus on washing their hands more than they typically do, especially before meals. During the second week of the study, all participants were asked to do extra handwashing and extra house cleaning. Urine samples were collected from participants both before the study began and once after the first week of the study, and again after the second week of the study. The flame retardant chemical Tris, which has been linked to endocrine disruption, decreased fertility, and thyroid dysfunction, was detected in 97 percent of urine samples before the study began, and after the first week, the handwashing group experienced a 47 percent decrease, while the housecleaning group experienced a 31 percent decrease. After the second week of the study, when participants were asked to do both housecleaning and handwashing, levels of Tris measured in urine fell 43 percent compared to baseline levels. Study first author Elizabeth Gibson says, " The results imply that both handwashing and house cleaning can be effective ways to reduce exposure to flame retardants and this evidence supports the EPA's recommendations. However, none of the reported flame retardants were reduced below the limit of detection, indicating that individual behavior cannot entirely reduce exposure." You can also limit your exposure by replacing older furniture. (EurekAlert!


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