Chemicals in Dust and Higher Rates of Sickness Across Campus

January 10, 2019

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Shari Shuman, Vice President, Administration & Finance

In the last few years, I have noticed many students, staff, and faculty becoming ill – a much higher incidence than in my previous 15 years at UNF. Has any research been conducted on the composition of indoor dust at UNF? Indoor dust is known to contain toxic chemicals. Some phthalates, fragrance, flame retardants, and phenols are consistently found in 90 percent or more of dust samples across multiple studies (according to the Natural Resources Defense Council). Please forward this concern to the appropriate department.

Response by Vice President Shuman 

We have an indoor air quality investigation protocol that is utilized when we are made aware of an issue with a given building population. There are criteria that triggers the need for an investigation and whether or not air monitoring is appropriate. Many air contaminates have no known threshold for toxicity and this can make interpretation of any data inconclusive. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that contaminates are present in the home, car and other locations where people can be exposed.

Leave a Reply