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Questioning the appropriateness of sieving for processing indoor settled dust samples

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MELYMUK Lisa Emily JÍLKOVÁ Simona Rozárka KOLÁŘ Michal SVOBODOVÁ Petra VRANA Branislav HILSCHEROVÁ Klára

Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Environmental Exposure Assessment
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords dust composition; dust exposure; Indoor dust; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; size fractions
Description Dust is a widely-used matrix for estimating human exposure to chemicals or as a screening tool for the identification of indoor chemicals of concern. As dust sampling became more common in exposure assessment, techniques used in processing soil have been adapted to dust samples, and separation of dust particles by sieving is common practice. However, there are no defined pore sizes, which results in inconsistent or difficult data interpretation and exposure estimates. Moreover, dust consists of more particle types than soil, particularly fibers, which behave differently during the sieving process. In this study, composite samples from seven microenvironments (homes, apartments, kindergartens, schools, public spaces, offices, and cars) were used to investigate the impact of the separation of dust by sieving on the observed chemical distributions. Dust was sieved to four particle size fractions (1-2 mm, 0.5-1 mm, 0.25-0.5 mm, and < 0.25 mm) and each fraction was analyzed for organic carbon content and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and images of dust samples were taken by optical microscope. We identified irregular distributions across size fractions for carbon and PAHs as well as for fibrous particles. Based on the combination of chemical analyses and microscopy, we recommend careful consideration of pre-processing of dust samples to limit bias in dust exposure assessments, and sieving should be used only when necessary.
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