Dust components may promote obesity | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Dust components may promote obesity

But indoor particles’ health impacts remain fuzzy

5:21pm, August 3, 2015

PLUMP PARTICLES   Fats lurking in house dust can activate a protein in human cells that researchers think plays a key role in obesity.

Dust bunnies that breed under furniture may be bad news for waistlines, a new study suggests. But it’s far too early to add dusting to a weight loss plan, researchers caution.

Components of indoor dust may signal human fat cells to grow and may alter metabolism, potentially contributing to weight problems, researchers report July 14 in Environmental Science & Technology.

“What that means to long term health and certain diseases, we don’t know yet,” says coauthor Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist at Duke University. But, she says, the finding that dust contains bulge-inducing components, dubbed “obesogens,” raises the question of whether the contaminants play a role in the obesity epidemic.  

Stapleton and colleagues found that dust samples collected from homes and offices had components that activated a protein called PPAR-gamma1.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content