I will write part three on that infernal creature. I’m about 300 words into that post already, but it’s clear that it will need pictures, drawing, maybe animations. It’s going to take me awhile.
I don’t know why this is on my mind, but it is and I’ve decided it will be on yours too. There is a popular urban legend that states “About 70 – 80% of dust in your household is actually dead skin cells that you have sluffed off.” Which sounds really gross. It’s often repeated on vacuum commercials, by door-to-door vacuum salesmen, HEPA filtration salesmen, and any number of other parties with a vested interest in getting you to buy cleaning, filtering, or skin care products.
The internet is a bit divided on the topic as well. Even sites that are generally good about their sources and information like About.com and HowStuffWorks trip over this one and end up just repeating the urban legend. It’s weird to note that both of those sites have citations for the amount of skin we lose per year (about 8 – 9 pounds) but neither have sources for the percentage make-up. Sites that bust such legends like LiveScience disagree about the rough percentage.
So let’s chat about this. First, assume that the average person loses 8 – 9 pounds of skin per year since this seems to be the agreed upon amount. I’m going to ignore the fact that I have no definition of “average.” Some people have more skin to lose and some people have less.
Now let’s talk about our environment. We live on a planet that is literally covered — made out of — dirt. One side of the planet to the other is dirt. Even under the oceans is dirt. We see dirt all the time. Our tires kick it up when we drive. Little dust devils send it swirling across fields and up into the atmosphere. Then there is soot, ash, and other pollutants that our cars, factories, and power plants give off. During hay fever season a single tree can release an awful lot of pollen. How much, you ask? This much:
This stuff doesn’t stay outdoors either. It comes in through open windows, through cracks in doors. It is tracked in on your shoes, caught in your hair and in your clothes, every time you enter the room.
How vain would you have to be to believe that on a planet made mostly of dust, you’re the cause? Seriously, even in your own home. Don’t forget that most of the skin you drop isn’t even dropped in your home. It could just as easily be dropped at your workplace, in your car, or on your daily run. All of these places, by the way, are also filled with dust mostly from dirt.
So why do people believe that they’re the source of 80% of dust in their homes? (Some believe it is even higher!) I’m seriously guessing vanity. The average American simply wants to be more dirty than earth.