Could a dusty house be making you fat?

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It's not like cleaning your house isn't crap enough, now researchers are saying that dust can make you fat.

And finally, I now know why I've put on so much weight since having kids.

It's not that I'm too busy transporting three children around to their various sporting, school and social activities to find the time to go to the gym. And it's definitely not the chocolate stash I keep in my bedside drawer or the gallons of wine I drink at the end of each week to keep me sane.

It's the fact my house is constantly dirty and researchers from Duke University have the evidence to back it up.

According to their research, dust is full of chemicals responsible for weight gain.

And even if you clean your house a lot, the tricky thing is dust can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.

When in the body the chemicals cause fat cells to make more triglycerides, which in turn forces more fat cells to be created.

"This suggests that the mixture of these chemicals in house dust is promoting the accumulation of triglycerides and fat cells," study author Dr Heather Stapleton said in a Daily Mail article.

"Amounts of dust as low as 3 micrograms – well below the mass of dust that children are exposed to daily – caused measurable effects."


To test their theory that dust cells can make you put on weight, researchers collected samples from 11 homes in North Carolina. Extracts of dust were then put next to a pre-adipocyte mouse cell model known as 3T3-LI.

Seven of the samples triggered them to develop into mature fat cells – a process that once it occurs can never be reversed, even if you were to lose lots of weight.

And it gets worse. Once those cells reach a certain size they multiply. And researchers found that extracts from nine samples caused the cells to divide and create a larger pool of precursor fat cells.

There was only one dust sample that showed no effect, according to the results published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

That's it - I'm off to clean my house. Best I buy a duster first.