Recently, alarmingly high levels of toxic flame retardants have been found during testing of the air quality in college dorm rooms. These harmful chemicals could potentially impact the health of the young students who reside in them. The risk posed by these chemicals range from cancer to hormonal disruption, and more. Many environmentalists debate on what is the best air purifier for dorm rooms as one side is focused on the importance of particulate removal, while the other side argues the importance of removing VOCs and environmental exposures.
Air Quality Issues Recently Discovered in Dorm Rooms
Among the chemicals found were two flame retardants that have either been largely eliminated from modern products, or completely banned. One, DecaBDE, has seen its manufacturing almost completely halted since 2013 when it began to be phased out of the industry due to its known side effects in lab rats. It is labeled as a possible carcinogen and was found in higher concentrations during this study than ever found previously. Another, PentaBDE, has been banned since 2005 since it was discovered to be a hormone disrupter and to cause birth defects. It particularly impacts the thyroid hormone and is dangerous to brain development when exposure occurs earlier on in life.
The results from the study come from a sample of universities in the Northeast but are likely representative of colleges from across the U.S. These alarming findings are most likely due to the fact that a lot of older furniture, which used to be made with coatings of potent flame retardants, is confined in small spaces. Over time, off-gassing occurs, and more and more of these toxins are released into the air and become more concentrated. These fumes get released into the air and dust in the immediate environment.
Experts agree that these findings are definitely concerning. One reason they have not surfaced until now is because the ill effects take a long time to manifest—someone exposed to these chemicals may not show symptoms of any harm done untill years later. There is evidence, however, that they are directly linked to endocrine dysfunction, and can have devastating effects on a developing fetus. Equally troubling is the fact that we don’t quite know how flame retardants react with other chemicals in the air, and what combined effect they may have on our bodies.
In all 95 of the samples tested, four flame retardants were found in every single sample. All four are recognized as potentially harmful. One, TCIPP, is believed to cause brain damage, decrease thyroid function, and reduce sperm motility and quality. The others present are less studied but have shown tendencies to also affect reproductive health and metabolism in both males and females.
High Levels of VOCs Compise Indoor Air Quality For College Dorms
It should be noted that the presence of flame retardants in college dorms are not necessarily bad—many fires may have been prevented or slowed down by flame-resistant materials. College dorms, where people are living in very close confinement, need a line of defense against a potentially dangerous situation should a fire break out. There does not seem to be a benefit in those universities that have stricter requirements on flame retardant materials than others. There is not a correlation between the former having reported fewer fires than the latter. Therefore, another danger presents itself when those chemicals are present in unnecessary quantities and to such an extent that they can have lasting effects on one’s health and well-being.
Since not much is known about these flame retardants found, and what has been found is negative, it is advised by health professionals that we don’t spend too much time in environments where they are present. There are other measures college staff, and students can take to lessen the danger. Universities should also make an effort to furnish rooms with furniture that has low amounts of these toxins used in manufacturing. As a general rule, older furniture was made with less caution regarding toxic chemicals, so newer items would be a safer choice. If the furniture and chemicals are already present, there are steps that can be taken to dilute their concentration in the dorm room. Keeping windows open and fans on for ventilation are good measures to take. Also, since flame retardants make their way into the dust in the room, regular vacuuming and dusting can also help a great deal.
Perhaps one of the best thing students and their families can do to prepare themselves to combat these toxins present in dorm rooms is to purchase an air purifier before moving in. Proper ventilation and regular cleaning can definitely lessen the number of dangerous chemicals that are present, but that still might not be enough to eliminate the unwanted side effects that can come with exposure to them. An air purifier can lower levels even more once those measures have been taken.
Many air purifiers tend to pull toxins, allergens, and other particles out of the air and just recycling them back into the room once air goes through the filter. To really combat toxins in the dorm room, it is necessary to have a high-quality air purifier that will not only trap but deactivate these harmful substances.
Must Have Air Cleaners for Dorm Rooms
The EnviroKlenz Mobile System is the perfect air purifying system for this purpose. It is a mobile unit that is extremely effective, but conveniently sized. At 19 inches tall and 15 inches wide, it won’t take up much space in the corner of your dorm. It uses hospital-grade HEPA filtration system, as well as a unique EnviroKlenz filter, that absorbs and neutralizes VOCs and malodors from your indoor air. It can cover up to an area of 850 square feet, which is perfect for dorm rooms or even small apartments. At three speeds of low, medium, and high, you can adjust based on need and ensure you will never disturb any neighbors with loud noises. The low setting is almost silent, while the medium and high produce very low humming sounds.
The EnviroKlenz is a better option over other air purifiers because of its effectiveness and size, but also because of its easy maintenance. There are no tools needed to assemble it, and all replacement filters can be easily and conveniently ordered through the EnviroKlenz website. Order the EnviroKlenz mobile system for your college dorm room today, and avoid exposure to dangerous toxins you may not realize are lurking.
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