Soil-to-skin adherence during different activities for children in Taiwan

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Abstract

Children may be exposed to environmental contaminants through incidental ingestion of soil resulting from hand-to-mouth contact. We measured soil adherence to the skin among 86 children from four kindergartens and one elementary school in Taiwan. Rinse water samples were collected from the hands, forearms, feet and lower legs of children after they had engaged in assigned activity groups (pre-activity, indirect contact and direct contact) from two different soil textures groups: sand and clay. We found that the soil loadings significantly differed between the different soil textures, body parts, activities, and clothing groups. Measured soil loadings for hands of pre-activity, indirect contact activity, and direct contact activity groups were 0.0069, 0.0307 and 0.153 mg cm−2, respectively, for the group playing on sand and 0.0061, 0.0116 and 0.0942 mg cm−2, respectively, for the group playing on clay. To facilitate the use of soil adherence data in exposure assessments, we provided a new and simple way to group activities based on the intensity of children's interactions with soil. The adherence data from this study can help enhance existing information based on soil-to-skin adherence factors used to assess children's exposure to soil contaminants during their play activities.

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