“Dust: A Metric for Use in Residential and Building Exposure Assessment and Source Characterization”

2002:58: Millette

Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110, No. 1, 969-983

In this review, we examine house dust and residential soil and their use for identifying sources and the quantifying levels of toxicants for the estimation of exposure. We answer critical questions that focus on the selection of samples or sampling strategies for collection and discuss areas of uncertainty and gaps in knowledge. We discuss the evolution of dust sampling with a special emphasis on work conducted after the publication of the 1992 review by McArthur [Appl Occup Environ Hyg 7(9):599-606 (1992)]. The approaches to sampling dust examined include surface wipe sampling, vacuum sampling, and other sampling approaches, including attic sampling.

The metrics of presentation of results for toxicants in dust surface loading (micrograms per square centimeter) or surface concentration (micrograms per gram) are discussed. We evaluate these metrics in terms of how the information can be used in source characterization and in exposure characterization. We discuss the types of companion information on source use and household or personal activity patterns required to assess the significance of the dust exposure. The status and needs for wipe samplers, surface samplers, and vacuum samplers are summarized with some discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of each type of sampler.

We also discuss needs for research and development and the current status of standardization. Case studies are provided to illustrate the use of house dust and residential soil in source characterization, forensic analyses, or human exposure assessment.

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