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Toxic Dust in College Dormitories Raise Concerns Among Students [Video]

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Study Raises Concerns on Toxic Dust in College Dorms
(Photo : Getty Images/Charles McQuillan )

Soon-to-be college students who are getting ready for their new living spaces in college dorms may want to take note of this. A new study reveals that students who are staying in college dormitories are exposed to high levels of toxic flame retardants in dust.

The non-profit research organization Silent Spring Institute conducted a study which measured dozens of flame retardants in college dormitories, UPI reported. They have taken samples including carcinogens, hormone disruptors and other chemicals that could possibly affect brain function.

Lead author Robin Dodson, an environmental exposure scientist at Silent Spring said that college students spend a lot of their time in their dorms because these are their homes away from their homes. And because of the fact that they are exposed to toxic or hazardous chemicals mean that these concerns should be raised and addressed, EurekAlert reported.

Flame retardants were being used by manufacturers of furniture in order meet flammability standards. However, it was found recently that exposure to these chemicals can lead to serious health issues including cancer, decreased fertility, thyroid disease and poor cognitive function.

In order to measure how much students are exposed to these harmful chemicals, the researchers analyzed almost 100 dust samples which were collected from US colleges campuses that are located in the northeast. A total of 47 different flame retardant chemicals were detected, and they have found that 41 percent of dorm rooms had levels of TDCIPP which is a known carcinogen. In fact, there were higher levels of carcinogens that were found in dorms than in other areas.

Dodson said that what they are trying to emphasize with their study is that standards matter, because it can impact people's health. He also said that schools now have the option to choose a healthier standard doesn't require the use of flame retardants while they do not compromise fire safety.

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