News 2017-06-07

Chemical pollutants in preschool dust

Researchers from the City of Stockholm “Chemical-Smart Preschool” project have examined levels of plasticisers and bisphenols in the dust collected from 100 Stockholm preschools. The researchers also identified other factors in the preschool environment that impact levels of these pollutants.

The study collected dust samples from 100 Stockholm preschools. It also investigated products such as floor materials, furniture and toys that might affect the indoor environment, as well as factors such as building type and cleaning routines. In addition to dust samples, urine samples were collected from the children.

The researchers were able to establish a connection between the year in which the pre-school was built and the chemicals present in the dust. Older preschools had higher levels of chemicals currently banned due to their toxic properties, while newer preschools had higher levels of the substances that today replace these. The study also shows a correlation between higher levels of some plasticizers and bisphenols and products such as foam plastic mattresses and PVC floors. The levels of some chemicals were significantly higher in those preschools that were cleaned less frequently.

Compared with previous studies conducted in European preschool environments, levels of chemicals that are now banned were low in the dust from Swedish preschools. Exposure levels of various softeners in the preschool environment is expected to contribute relatively little (2-27 per cent) to the children's total exposure and are below health-based reference values.

The study was published in the Environment International journal. You can download the article here.

About the study: The project is a collaboration between researchers at the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm University, IVL Swedish Environmental Institute and Lund University. It is funded by the National Environmental Protection Agency and the Stockholm City Environmental Administration and is part of the national health-related environmental monitoring initiative.

Read more about the project here.

Read more about Chemical-Smart Preschools here.