Scientists say house dust could make us fat. They say that people should keep their house clean if they want to avoid putting on weight. The scientists are from Duke University in the USA. They did some research on how dust affects mice. The researchers collected dust samples from 11 different houses and put them in the cells of mice. Dust from nine of the houses made the mice fatter. The scientists said house dust changed the hormones in the mice that create fat in their body. The scientists said that we breathe in and swallow small amounts of dust. Researcher Dr Heather Stapleton said: "Amounts of dust as low as three micrograms…caused measurable effects."
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The dust particles contained chemicals called EDCs. These can change or copy the body's hormones. EDCs are found in sofas and carpets to make them fire resistant. They are also added to some plastics, to make them bend more, and in cosmetics, food packaging, and household cleaning products. The researchers said EDCs are everywhere in most houses. They say the chemicals can affect our health, and that children are at a higher risk. EDCs also cause other health risks including creating learning disabilities in children. Studies have also shown that EDCs can raise the risk of cancer and infertility. The researchers said there was a "critical need" to assess things we make that can make us unhealthy.