If you thought you were safe from weight gain because you raided your kitchen and threw out all the cookies, bags of chips and gallons of ice cream, Duke University researchers want you to think again. According to the results of their recent study, you may still be at risk for gaining weight if you failed to dust behind your TV while you were throwing away all those cookies, bags of chips and gallons of ice cream.

Say what?

Yep, it’s true. As per the study, which was published recently in Environmental Science & Technology, dust that accumulates in the home or office contains enough man-made endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to interfere with the body’s metabolic hormones, and such disruption can cause the body to unintentionally store excess fat. EDCs can be found in many different household items, including cleaning solutions, plastic containers, cosmetics, pesticides, and even some food additives.

The Duke University study, which involved collecting and testing dust from 11 different North Carolina homes, is the first of its kind. (It is also horribly depressing, if you ask me.)

Researchers tested EDC-contaminated dust against mice cells to determine the potential effects it had on fat accumulation. The study’s results suggest that EDCs in dust trigger the body to store excess fat, specifically triglycerides - a common type of fat that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

A researcher who participated in the study, Dr. Heather Stapleton, says the study’s results suggest “…the mixture of these chemicals in house dust is promoting the accumulation of triglycerides and fat cells.”

What’s even more concerning about the study’s results is the small amount of dust that was needed to prompt the body to begin storing fat - only three micrograms. Three micrograms of dust is considerably lower than the average amount of dust in most homes. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in 2011 that American children aged three to six years ingest 27 micrograms of dust per day, on average.

Previous studies have also shown that regular exposure to EDCs can raise one’s risk of developing certain cancers, such as breast, prostate, and thyroid cancer.

So…are you cleaning yet, or is it just me?

Healthy Living