It’s bad news for those who hate cleaning – dust can make you fat, shocking new research suggests. Just minuscule amounts of the annoying, tiny specks that collect in dirty homes can trigger a bulging waistline. Full of gender-bending chemicals responsible for weight gain, dust can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. This causes fat cells to accumulate more triglycerides, leaving them full and forcing more to be created, laboratory tests showed. The findings are surprising, considering the extensive research that shows poor diet and a lack of exercise as fueling obesity. Those wanting to keep trim should reach for their feather dusters as well as eating and living healthier, Duke University researchers implied. Study author Dr Heather Stapleton said: ‘This suggests that the mixture of these chemicals in house dust is promoting the accumulation of triglycerides and fat cells. ‘Amounts of dust as low as 3 micrograms – well below the mass of dust that children are exposed to daily – caused measurable effects.’ What’s in dust? Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic or naturally occurring compounds that can interfere with or mimic the body’s hormones. EDCs – such as flame retardants, phthalates and bisphenol-A – are known for their potential effects on reproductive, neurological and immune functions. But animal studies also suggest early life exposure to some can cause weight gain later in life, and are dubbed ‘obesogens’. Some manufacturers have reduced the use of EDCs in products, but many are still common in consumer goods. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that children consume 50 milligrams of house dust each day.