In recent air quality test performed on college dorm rooms, startlingly high levels of toxic flame retardants have been found within the air. These harmful chemicals pose a potential serious health risk to the young students in residence. There are a number of risk factors for such exposure, ranging from hormonal disruptions to cancer.
Fort Myers, FL- In recent air quality test performed on college dorm rooms, startlingly high levels of toxic flame retardants have been found within the air. These harmful chemicals pose a potential serious health risk to the young students in residence. There are a number of risk factors for such exposure, ranging from hormonal disruptions to cancer. Environmentalists continue to debate the best air purifiers for dorm rooms, as one side is focused on the importance of the removal of VOCs and environmental exposures, while the other pontificates the importance of particulate removal.
Among these chemicals found in the air of dorm rooms were two flame retardants that have either been largely eliminated or otherwise banned from modern products. DecaBDE, the first of the two, has seen an almost complete halt in manufacturing since 2013 when the industry began to phase it out due to known side effects amongst lab rats. Labeled as a possible carcinogen, this chemical was found in higher concentrations during the course of this study than previously seen before. The second, PentaBDE, was banned in 2005 following the discovery that it has the ability to disrupt hormones and cause birth defects. The chemical has a particular impact to the thyroid hormone, and is dangerous to brain development when exposure occurs early in life.
While these results were gathered from a sample of Northeastern universities, they likely represent the conditions of college dorm rooms throughout the United States. One likely cause for these alarming findings is that a lot of older furniture-coated with materials including potential flame retardants-is being confined in small spaces. Off-gassing occurs over time, releasing more and more of these toxins into the air and causing them to become more concentrated. These fumes are released into the air and dust of the immediate environment.
Experts agree that these findings are more than a little concerning. This brings to light the question of why these reports have not surfaced until now. One reason is because of the length of time it takes for symptoms and ill effects to manifest; someone exposed to these chemicals may not show any negative symptoms until years later. However, there is evidence that they are linked directly to endocrine dysfunction and can have devastating effects on a developing fetus. What is equally troubling is that it is not well known how flame retardants react with other chemicals in the air and the combined effects that they may have on the body.
Of the 95 samples tested, each sample contained four flame retardants. Additionally, all of the four are recognized as…