The most common dust particles in homes are clothing fiber, skin flakes, and paper fiber. These all appear as "white dust". Pet debris, road
debris, plant material, insect debris, fungal debris, spider and mite debris,
cleaning residues, combustion products, construction debris, etc., begin to individualize each home environment. The contribution of dusts
from pets includes dander, hair, fecal material, flea debris, pet powders, food debris, cat box debris, etc. Road debris includes natural
minerals, tire wear, wear metals, soot, cenospheres, tailpipe emissions, nitrates, etc. The relative contribution of these materials is
dependent on the types of roads close to the home, the amount of truck verse car traffic, the total amount of traffic, the outdoor/indoor
exchange rate (high with open windows), the presence of an attached garage and how it is used, etc. Plant material, including pollen, can be
a good indicator of the outdoor/indoor air exchange rate. Pollens are good indicators of the time of year (time of dust accumulation) as well
as infiltration rates and particle persistence in the environment. Insect debris includes outdoor insects that are visitors as well as those
that make their home in your home. The ones that live in the home tend to be the most bothersome from a health perspective, though some are
potentially beneficial. Fungal debris often enters the home with pollen and other outdoor plant material. It is a problem if growing indoors
and indicates a moisture control issue. Moisture management is the ultimate solution. The mite population in a home is generally of greater
health concern than the spider population. There are in excess of one hundred types of mites that may live in the home. Most of these generate
powerful allergens. The Dermatophagoides are the most common but certainly not the only mites of concern. Testing only for the
Dermatophagoides allergens is not an effective test for the presence of mites. Cleaning residues includes a wide variety of particle types.
They range from the agglomerates that are created as well a residual detergents, fresheners, etc., that add to the chemical background in the
home. Combustion products include soot from candles, smoking, fireplaces, leaking furnaces, wood stoves, vehicle emissions, cooking emissions,
house fires, backyard burning, etc. These particles can be indicators of serious carbon monoxide exposure issues in the home. Construction
debris may be from the original construction or from remodeling. In either case, if not done properly it can be a source of irritants in the
home that may persist for years.
The most common dust particles in homes are clothing fiber, skin flakes, and paper fiber. These all appear as "white dust". The relative
contribution of each of these three will vary depending on the size of the home, the number of people in the space, and the habits of the
individuals in that space. Skin flakes tend to dominate in apartments or homes of smaller volume occupied by two or more individuals.
Clothing fiber may dominate in homes where frequent laundering or drier vent issues may be present. Paper fiber may dominate where tissues
are frequently used, newspapers are read, etc.
Human Skin Flakes
Clothing fiber, as used here, refers to any textile fiber regardless of use. Environments both inside and out contain large
numbers of these fibers. Most of these fibers are derived from clothing but carpets and other cloth surfaces also contribute
to the environment.
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The contribution of dusts from pets includes dander, hair, fecal material, flea debris, pet powders, food debris, cat box debris, etc. Pet
debris is often carried from the home into the office or school environment on clothing.
Guinea Pig Debris
Mouse and Rat Debris
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Wood Burning Fireplace
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Gas Fired Fireplace
Electric Baseboard Heaters