Anyone who has ever left their toaster unsupervised for too long knows what to do. After attempting to rescue your charred bread, you open a window. Well, scientists recently tried the same air-freshening tactic for 19 common chemicals found in homes — and found that it didn’t actually do anything. Even after opening all the windows of a house seven different times for half an hour each, the chemicals reappeared at pre-air-out levels within minutes. The predictable reappearance of the chemicals indicated to the team that all the surfaces in a home — curtains, counters, floors and more — were acting as “big chemical reservoirs,” says Chen Wang, study co-author and chemist at the University of Toronto. These materials hold onto and release chemicals in our homes, the researchers explain in their new paper in Science Advances. Chemicals in the HomeThough chemical compounds permeate our homes, not all of them are inherently harmful. The vanillin in the vanilla extract sitting…



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