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Distribution of Pesticides and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in House Dust as a Function of Particle Size

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Abstract: House dust is a repository for environmental pollutants that may accumulate indoors from both internal and external sources over long periods of time. Dust and tracked-in soil accumulate most efficiently in carpets, and the pollutants associated with it may present an exposure risk to infants and toddlers, who spend significant portions of their time in contact with or in close proximity to the floor and engage in frequent mouthing activities. The availability of carpet dust for exposure by transfer to the skin or by suspension into the air depends on particle size. In this study, a large sample of residential house dust was obtained from a commercial cleaning service whose clients were homeowners residing in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. The composite dust was separated into seven size fractions ranging from <4 ?m to 500 ?m in diameter, and each fraction was analyzed for 28 pesticides and 10 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Over 20% of the fractionated dust sample consisted of particles less than 25 ?m in diameter. Fourteen pesticides and all 10 of the target PAHs were detected in one or more of the seven size-fractionated samples. Sample concentrations reported range from 0.02 to 22 ?g/g, with the synthetic pyrethroids cis- and trans-permethrin being the most abundant pesticide residue. The concentrations of nearly all of the target analytes were found to increase gradually with decreasing particle size for the larger particles, then dramatically for the two smallest particle sizes (<25 ?m and <4 um).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through its Office of Research and Development funded, managed, and collaborated in the research described here under contract 68-D5-0049 to ManTech Environmental Technology, Inc. and contract 68-D5-0040 to the Research Triangle Institute. It has been subject to agency review and approved for publication.
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Citation:Lewis, R. G., C. R. Fortune, R. D. Willis, D. E. Camann, and J. T. Utley. Distribution of Pesticides and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in House Dust as a Function of Particle Size. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES 107(9):721-726, (1999).
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Contact: Liz Hope - (919) 541-2785 or hope.elizabeth@epa.gov
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Division: Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
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Branch: Exposure Methods & Monitoring Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 09/01/1999
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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