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By the products we use to clean, by the paints that cover our walls, by the flame retardants lurking in our insulation. The air we breathe in our homes is polluted. But, researchers from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) tell us today that it is nothing compared to the International Space Station (ISS)!
In dust emitted from air filters inside the ISS, they found levels of potentially health-hazardous organic contaminants above average values found in European homes. polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), “new” brominated flame retardants (BFRs), organophosphate esters (OPEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) or even polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) ).
Multiple sources of pollutants on the International Space Station
The researchers speculate that these contaminants were brought into space either by dedicated equipment such as fireproof bandages, or by commercial products for the personal use of astronauts, such as MP3 players or bus clothing. And exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation can accelerate their release into the air.
The researchers therefore recommend excluding as many sources of pollutants as possible in the future by carefully selecting materials during the design stages of space missions.