Humans shed their entire layer of skin every 2-4 weeks. Skin flakes contain skin oils – cholesterol and “squalene” – which are major components of household dust. Recent research shows that dust, though often a nuisance and the source of allergies and respiratory problems, may actually be beneficial at reducing indoor air pollution.
It sounds contradictory, but it’s true. Squalene actually reduces ozone levels from 2 to 15 percent.
So… to dust, or not to dust? That is the question. Previous research shows the mere presence of humans in a room can reduce ozone levels. Ozone is a major component of smog, and exposure to it may increase one’s risk of lung irritation, asthma, heart attacks and death. The removal of ozone from indoor spaces seems to be a good thing. However, other studies show that the reaction between skin flakes and squalene produces byproducts which are known to be lung irritants and may be just as or even more harmful to your health.
Until more research is done, we are going to recommend dusting and using an air purifier to remove dust and other allergens from your indoor spaces. Just make sure the air purifier does not emit ozone.
From dust we came, and to dust we shall return…