Silent Spring Institute’s new study reveals the top 10 consumer product chemicals in dust that can harm humans.
“Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday consumer products, according to a new study. These are chemicals found in consumer products and building materials and have been associated with numerous health effects including cancer, hormone disruption, and development and reproductive problems.
The study is the first comprehensive analysis of toxic chemicals in house dust, compiling data from more than two dozen studies throughout the United States. It reveals what the average American is likely exposed to on a routine basis. “We’ve known, from our previous research, that these chemicals can end up in indoor dust,” says co-author Robin Dodson, an environmental exposure scientist at Silent Spring Institute. “Now we can say with confidence that these chemicals are in fact pervasive in U.S. homes, which is highly concerning given the possible health effects.”
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Robin Dodson is a research scientist with expertise in exposure assessment and indoor air pollution. She is currently working on developing innovative exposure assessment methods for cohort studies and intervention studies aimed at reducing indoor pollution.
Dr. Dodson recently completed her doctorate in environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Working with Drs. Deborah Bennett, Jonathan Levy, James Shine, and Jack Spengler, she designed and conducted an exposure study in the Boston area focusing on residential and personal exposures to volatile organic compounds, such as chloroform from heated tap water, benzene from attached garages, and formaldehyde from home furnishings. She developed a model to evaluate the potential impacts of chemicals on residential exposure in secondary areas, such as basements, attached garages, and apartment hallways. She developed a personal exposure model based on time-weighted microenvironmental concentrations to determine how people are exposed to volatile organic compounds. In addition, she evaluated methods for leveraging existing residential concentration data to model residential concentrations for potential study populations. As a graduate student, she also contributed to two studies focusing on asthma in lower-socioeconomic-status urban residences in the Boston area.
Prior to her graduate work, Dr. Dodson worked at Menzie-Cura and Associates, where she contributed to both human and ecological risk assessments and the development of environmental health educational materials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health. In addition to her doctorate, Dr. Dodson holds a bachelor’s in environmental studies from Bates College, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society, and a master’s in environmental science and risk management from the Harvard School of Public Health.