Dust is making us fat - research

Dusting, cleaning
When exposed to dust, fat cells in mice were more likely to divide and accumulate fat. Photo credit: Getty

Could dust be to blame for the obesity epidemic?

New research from the US suggests it might be, with scientists finding high levels of 'obesogens' in household dust.

When exposed to dust, fat cells in mice were more likely to divide - creating more fat cells - as well as reaching maturity more quickly, accumulating more fat in the process.

The dust used in the study was collected from 11 different homes - only one set of dust having no effect.

"Only one of 11 dust samples appeared completely inactive, suggesting that the causative chemical(s) are nearly ubiquitous in the indoor environment," the researchers said.

Obesogens include flame retardants found in sofas and carpets, some ingredients found in cosmetics, pesticides, cleaning products and packaging. Only 3mcg was required to trigger fat cells - while the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates children consume up to 50mg of dust a day, or 16,000 times that.

The research was carried out at Duke University in North Carolina, and published in journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Newshub.