While approximately 80% of household dust is dead skin, a new EPA study reveals that dust emanating from mattresses and televisions contains potentially hazardous polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), according to Medindia.com Health News.
It is not yet clear how dangerous these PBDEs are, but some of them are already banned in most parts of Europe, and their structure is strikingly similar to PCBs. PCBs are suspected of causing cancer and can definitely alter human development. Exposure to PCBs also causes various skin problems like rashes. U.S. Congress banned the domestic production of PCBs in 1977, but they're still used in electrical equipment like capacitors and transformers.
To avoid PBDEs when cleaning, avoiding sweeping, which only circulates dust. Instead use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Vacuum and dust frequently, and avoid touching used vacuum cleaner filters. Air purifiers will also help remove particulate and chemical pollution. Also, let fresh air into your home as often as possible.