Isolation and characterization of a respirable particle fraction from residential house-dust

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Indoor air pollution has caused increasing concern in recent years. As we spend most of our lives indoors, it is crucial to understand the health effects caused by indoor air pollution. Household dust serve as good proxy for accessing indoor air pollution, especially smaller dust particles that can pass into the lungs are of interest. In this study we present an efficient method for the isolation of dust particles in the respirable size range. The respirable fraction was recovered from vacuum cleaner bags, separated by stepwise sieving, followed by characterization for size, morphology, surface area, organic content and elemental composition. The respirable fraction was obtained in a yield of 0.6% with a specific surface area of 2.5 m2/g and a Mass Median Aerodynamic Diameter of 3.73 ± 0.15 μm. Aluminum and zink were the dominating metals measured in the dust, whereas the major mineral components were found to be silicon dioxide and calcium carbonate. The fraction of organic matter in the dust was measured to be 69 ± 1%. The organic matrix contained bacterial and fungi and a presence of skin fragments. We present here an efficient and fast method for the isolation of dust particles in the respirable size range. That is of considerable value due to the need for large quantities of respirable particle fractions to conduct toxicological studies and risk assessment work.

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