Exposure and Health

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 41–50 | Cite as

Indoor Dust Metal Loadings: A Human Health Risk Assessment

  • F. Barrio-ParraEmail author
  • E. De Miguel
  • S. Lázaro-Navas
  • A. Gómez
  • M. Izquierdo
Original Paper


In order to characterize the influence of environmental factors in dust metal loadings inside homes in an urban environment and to evaluate the associated potential health risks, samples of settled indoor dust from 10 apartments in the urban area of Madrid (Spain) were collected with wet wipes. Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, and Mn loads were determined by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) after a HNO3 + H2O2 digestion. The environmental factors evaluated were load distribution between rooms, number of residents, presence of smokers, traffic intensity, apartment elevation, and frequency of house cleaning. Tukey’s range test and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis revealed that metal dust loadings present two prevailing origins: (1) They present higher loadings in the entry hall, which suggest that dust is tracked indoors adhered to footwear and clothing and (2) they arise from tobacco smoking. Significant correlations were also observed between metal loadings and traffic intensity (Cr), number of residents (Cr, Pb, and Cu), number of days between cleaning (Ni), and flat height (Mn). A human health risk assessment considering a mechanistic hand-to-mouth model for dust ingestion and dermal absorption revealed that urban children are not expected to develop adverse health effects from exposure to trace elements in household dust. The contribution of this exposure scenario to the overall received dose should be included when assessing the background exposure of children to trace elements. A more precise assessment should attempt to reduce the significant uncertainty of the risk model output associated with estimates of exposure variables, deposition rates, and metal bioaccessibility.


Indoor dust Metal loadings Wipe sampling Human health risk assessment Urban environment 



The authors thank the reviewers for their comments that have helped increase the quality of this article. This study was funded through the CARESOIL–CM (S2013/MAE-2739) research Grant of the Regional Government of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid).


  1. AEMET (2014) Meteorological agency of the Spanish State (Agencia Estatal de Metereología).
  2. Al-Momani IF (2007) Trace elements in street and household dusts in Amman, Jordan. Soil Sediment Contam 16:485–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-rajhl MA, Madany WC (1996) Metal levels in indoor and outdoor dust in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Environ Int 22(3):315–324. doi: 10.1016/0160-4120(96)00017-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ball JE, Jenks R, Aubourg D (1998) An assessment of the availability of pollutant constituents on road surfaces. Sci Total Environ 209:243–254. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(97)00319-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butte W, Heinzow B (2002) Pollutants in house dust as indicators of indoor contamination. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 175:1–46Google Scholar
  6. Cao S, Duan X, Zhao X et al (2016) Health risks of children’s cumulative and aggregative exposure to metals and metalloids in a typical urban environment in China. Chemosphere 147:404–411. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.12.134 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chattopadhyay G, Lin KCP, Feitz AJ (2003) Household dust metal levels in the Sydney metropolitan area. Environ Res 93:301–307. doi: 10.1016/S0013-9351(03)00058-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiba M, Masironi R (1992) Toxic and trace elements in tobacco and tobacco smoke. Bull World Health Organ 70:269–275Google Scholar
  9. De Miguel E, Iribarren I, Chacón E et al (2007) Risk-based evaluation of the exposure of children to trace elements in playgrounds in Madrid (Spain). Chemosphere 66:505–513. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2006.05.065 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DGT (2013) Traffic general direction of the Spanish State (Dirección General de Tráfico).
  11. Edwards RD, Yurkow EJ, Lioy PJ (1998) Seasonal deposition of housedusts onto household surfaces. Sci Total Environ 224:69–80. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(98)00348-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fergusson JE, Kim ND (1991) Trace elements in street and house dusts: sources and speciation. Sci Total Environ 100:125–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glorennec P, Lucas J, Mandin C, Le B (2012) French children’ s exposure to metals via ingestion of indoor dust, outdoor playground dust and soil: Contamination data. Environ Int 45:129–134. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2012.04.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hassan SKM (2012) Metal concentrations and distribution in the household, stairs and entryway dust of some Egyptian homes. Atmos Environ 54:207–215. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.02.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hu X, Zhang Y, Luo J et al (2011) Bioaccessibility and health risk of arsenic, mercury and other metals in urban street dusts from a mega-city, Nanjing, China. Environ Pollut 159:1215–1221. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.01.037 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hunt A, Johnson DL, Griffith DA (2006) Mass transfer of soil indoors by track-in on footwear. Sci Total Environ 370:360–371. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.07.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ibanez Y, Le Bot B, Glorennec P (2010) House-dust metal content and bioaccessibility: a review. Eur J Miner 22:629–637. doi: 10.1127/0935-1221/2010/0022-2010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. ICMM (2007) HERAG 01: Assessment of Occupational Dermal Exposure and Dermal Absorption for Fact Sheet. 1–49Google Scholar
  19. INE (2014) Instituto Nacional de Estadística.
  20. Khoder MI, Hassan SK, El-Abssawy AA (2010) An evaluation of loading rate of dust, Pb, Cd, and Ni and metals mass concentration in the settled surface dust in domestic houses and factors affecting them. Indoor Built Environ 19:391–399. doi: 10.1177/1420326X10367284 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kurt-Karakus PB (2012) Determination of heavy metals in indoor dust from Istanbul, Turkey: estimation of the health risk. Environ Int 50:47–55. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2012.09.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lioy PJ, Freeman NCG, Millette JR (2002) Dust: a metric for use in residential and building exposure assessment and source characterization. Environ Health Perspect 110:969–983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lisiewicz M, Heimburger R, Golimowski J (2000) Granulometry and the content of toxic and potentially toxic elements in vacuum-cleaner collected, indoor dusts of the city of Warsaw. Sci Total Environ 263:69–78. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(00)00667-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Llobet JM, Falcó G, Casas C et al (2003) Concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead in common foods and estimated daily intake by children, adolescents, adults, and seniors of Catalonia, Spain. J Agric Food Chem 51:838–842. doi: 10.1021/jf020734q CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lucas JP, Bellanger L, Le Strat Y et al (2014) Source contributions of lead in residential floor dust and within-home variability of dust lead loading. Sci Total Environ 470–471:768–779. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Madrid Council (2013) Tráfico: Información de intensidad media diaria (estudios anuales) 2012 y 2013.
  27. Mcdonald LT (2010) Wipe sampling methodologies to assess exposures to metals in urban Canadian homes. University of OttawaGoogle Scholar
  28. Mcdonald LT, Rasmussen P, Chénier M, Levesque C (2010) Wipe sampling methodologies to assess exposures to lead and cadmium in urban canadian homes. In: Annual international conference on soils, sediments, water and energyGoogle Scholar
  29. Rasmussen P, Levesque C, Chénier M et al (2013) Canadian House Dust Study: population-based concentrations, loads and loading rates of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc inside urban homes. Sci Total Environ 443:520–529. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thatcher TL, Layton DW (1995) Deposition, resuspension, and penetration of particles within a residence. Atmos Environ 29:1487–1497. doi: 10.1016/1352-2310(95)00016-R CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tong STY, Lam KC (1998) Are nursery schools and kindergartens safe for our kids? The Hong Kong study. Sci Total Environ 216:217–225. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(98)00161-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tong STY, Lam KC (2000) Home sweet home? A case study of household dust contamination in Hong Kong. Sci Total Environ 256:115–123. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(00)00471-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Turner A (2011) Oral bioaccessibility of trace metals in household dust: a review. Environ Geochem Health 33:331–341. doi: 10.1007/s10653-011-9386-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Turner A, Hefzi B (2010) Levels and bioaccessibilities of metals in dusts from an arid environment. Water Air Soil Pollut 210:483–491. doi: 10.1007/s11270-009-0274-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Turner A, Ip KH (2007) Bioaccessibility of metals in dust from the indoor environment: Application of a physiologically based extraction test. Environ Sci Technol 41:7851–7856. doi: 10.1021/es071194m CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Turner A, Simmonds L (2006) Elemental concentrations and metal bioaccessibility in UK household dust. Sci Total Environ 371:74–81. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.08.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. USEPA (1995) Residential sampling for lead: protocols for dust and soil samplingGoogle Scholar
  38. USEPA (1996a) Analysis of composite wipe samples for lead content. Final Report. EPA 747-R-96-003. Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. USEPA (1996b) Soil screening guidance: technical background document. EPA/540/R95/128. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  40. USEPA (1997) Summary and assessment of published information on determining lead exposures and mitigating lead hazards associated with dust and soil in residential carpets, furniture, and forced air ductsGoogle Scholar
  41. USEPA (2001) Lead; identification of dangerous levels of lead; final ruleGoogle Scholar
  42. USEPA (2002) Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites. OSWER 9355.4-22. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  43. USEPA (2004) Risk assessment guidance for superfund volume i: human health evaluation manual (Part E, Supplemental Guidance for Dermal Risk Assessment). EPA/540/R/99/005. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  44. USEPA (2008) Child-specific exposure factors handbook. EPA/600/R-06/096F. National Center for Environmental Assessment. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. USEPA (2011) Exposure factors handbook 2011 edition. EPA/600/R-09/052F. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  46. Wallace L (1996) Indoor particles: a review. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 46:98–126. doi: 10.1080/10473289.1996.10467451 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wilson R, Jones-Otazo H, Petrovic S et al (2013) Revisiting dust and soil ingestion rates based on hand-to-mouth transfer. Hum Ecol Risk Assess An Int J 19:158–188. doi: 10.1080/10807039.2012.685807 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson R, Mitchell I, Richardson GM (2015) Short communication: estimation of dust ingestion rates in units of surface area per day using a mechanistic hand-to-mouth model. Hum Ecol Risk Assess An Int J. doi: 10.1080/10807039.2015.1115956 Google Scholar
  49. Yebpella G (2011) Heavy metal content of different brands of cigarettes commonly smoked in nigeria and its toxicological implications. Pac J. 12:356–362Google Scholar
  50. Yiin LM, Rhoads GG, Rich DQ et al (2002) Comparison of techniques to reduce residential lead dust on carpet and upholstery: the New Jersey assessment of cleaning techniques trial. Environ Health Perspect 110:1233–1237. doi: 10.1289/ehp.021101233 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhu N-Z, Liu L-Y, Ma W-L et al (2015) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the indoor dust in China: levels, spatial distribution and human exposure. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 111:1–8. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.09.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zota AMIRMIR, Schaider LA, Ettinger AS et al (2011) Metal sources and exposures in the homes of young children living near a mining-impacted Superfund site. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 21:495–505. doi: 10.1038/jes.2011.21 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Barrio-Parra
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. De Miguel
    • 1
  • S. Lázaro-Navas
    • 1
  • A. Gómez
    • 1
  • M. Izquierdo
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Geochemistry Research and Engineering LaboratoryUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations