Developmental, behavioral & environmental determinants of infant dust ingestion

EPA Grant Number: R840202
Title: Developmental, behavioral & environmental determinants of infant dust ingestion
Investigators: Adolph, Karen E , Boor, Brandon Emil , Claxton, Laura J , Laskin, Alexander
Institution: New York University , Purdue University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 1, 2021 through August 31, 2024
Project Amount: $1,336,404
RFA: Estimating Childrens Soil and Dust Ingestion Rates for Exposure Science (2020) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Human Health


This project will elucidate determinants of indoor dust ingestion in 6- to 24-month-old infants (age range for major postural and locomotor milestones). Specific objectives are to test: (1) whether the frequency and characteristics of indoor dust and non-dust mouthing events change with age and motor development stage for different micro-environments; (2) how home characteristics and demographic factors affect indoor dust mass loading and dust toxicant concentration; (3) how dust transfer between surfaces is influenced by dust properties, surface features, and contact dynamics; and (4) contributions of developmental, behavioral, and socio-environmental factors to dust and toxicant-resolved dust ingestion rates. In addition, the project will (5) create a shared corpus of video, dust, toxicant, and ingestion rate data to increase scientific transparency and speed progress through data reuse by the broader exposure science community.


Our transdisciplinary work will involve: (1) parent report questionnaires and detailed video coding of home observations of infant mouthing and hand-to-floor/object behaviors; (2) physical and chemical analyses of indoor dust collected through home visits and a citizen-science campaign; (3) surface-to-surface dust transfer experiments with a robotic platform; (4) dust mass balance modeling to determine distributions in and determinants of dust and toxicant-resolved dust ingestion rates; and (5) open sharing of curated research videos and processed data in the Databrary digital library and a public website with geographic and behavioral information for participating families.


Expected Results:

The project will provide improved estimates of indoor dust ingestion rates in pre-sitting to independently walking infants and characterize inter-individual variability based on infant age, developmental stage, home environment, and parent behaviors. Dust transport experiments and modeling will provide new mechanistic insights into the factors that affect the migration of dust from the floor to mouthed objects to an infant’s mouth. The shared corpus will enable data reuse to inform future research on how dust ingestion contributes to infants’ total exposure to environmental toxicants.

Supplemental Keywords:

exposure, sensitive populations, infants/children, indoor environments, motor development, chemicals, toxics, particulates, organics, metals, community-based, behavioral psychology, environmental engineering, analytic chemistry