University dorms have 9 times the record amount of DecaBDE
This month, a study released in the Environmental Science & Technology journal detailed that people in college dorms may be exposed to the highest levels of DecaBDE ever recorded. The chemical was initially made as a way to suppress fires but was phased out after an EPA ban on its production in 2005.
The ban came after it was proven to be an endocrine disruptor, affecting hormone levels of anyone exposed to it for too long. As well as having negative effects on hormone production, the chemical is also linked to effects on the development of fetuses. Most pressing is the chemical’s carcinogenic nature. It may increase the likelihood of cancer, especially in an environment, like a dorm, where you spend a lot of time.
The study was conducted in two universities but researchers are confident the findings can be applied to most universities in the U.S.
Researchers have stated that universities should replace furniture that is more than a few years old. Additionally, regular vacuuming and dusting should help reduce levels quickly. Most importantly, ventilation should be prioritised.