February 17, 2010
Where Does All This Dust Come From?
Where does it come from? Scientists in Arizona are reporting a surprising answer to that question, which has puzzled and perplexed generations of men and women confronted with layers of dust on furniture and floors. Most of indoor dust comes from outdoors. Their report appears in the ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.
In the study, David Layton and Paloma Beamer point out that household dust consists of a potpourri that includes dead skin shed by people, fibers from carpets and upholstered furniture, and tracked-in soil and airborne particles blown in from outdoors. It can include lead, arsenic and other potentially harmful substances that migrate indoors from outside air and soil. That can be a special concern for children, who consume those substances by putting dust-contaminated toys and other objects into their mouths.
Image Caption: Most indoor household dust that collects on furniture and floors actually comes from outdoors, a new study finds. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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