Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 225–233 | Cite as

Characterization of indoor dust from Brazil and evaluation of the cytotoxicity in A549 lung cells

  • E. DeschampsEmail author
  • P. G. Weidler
  • F. Friedrich
  • C. Weiss
  • S. Diabaté
Original Paper


Over the past decade, ambient air particulate matter (PM) has been clearly associated with adverse health effects. In Brazil, small and poor communities are exposed to indoor dust derived from both natural sources, identified as blowing soil dust, and anthropogenic particles from mining activities. This study investigates the physicochemical and mineralogical composition of indoor PM10 dust samples collected in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and evaluates its cytotoxicity and inflammatory potential. The mean PM10 mass concentration was 206 μg/m3. The high dust concentration in the interior of the residences is strongly related to blowing soil dust. The chemical and mineralogical compositions were determined by ICP-OES and XRD, and the most prominent minerals were clays, Fe-oxide, quartz, feldspars, Al(hydr)oxides, zeolites, and anatase, containing the transition metals Fe, Cr, V, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ti, and Mn as well as the metalloid As. The indoor dust samples presented a low water solubility of about 6 %. In vitro experiments were carried out with human lung alveolar carcinoma cells (A549) to study the toxicological effects. The influence of the PM10 dust samples on cell viability, intracellular formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-8 was analysed. The indoor dust showed little effects on alamarBlue reduction indicating unaltered mitochondrial activity. However, significant cell membrane damage, ROS production, and IL-8 release were detected in dependence of dose and time. This study will support the implementation of mitigation actions in the investigated area in Brazil.


Indoor dust Brazil Environment Cytotoxicity Arsenic 



The authors thankfully acknowledge financial support from the Brazilian Research Foundation of Minas Gerais—FAPEMIG and also from KIT Campus South; Dr. Utz Kramar for the ED-XRF measurements and Dr. Stefan Norra and Nina Schleicher for the PM10 samplers. We also thank Prof. Dr. Matschullat for the support during the sampling campaign and Dr. Rodrigo Estevão Texeira for the precious comments and suggestions.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Deschamps
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. G. Weidler
    • 2
  • F. Friedrich
    • 2
  • C. Weiss
    • 3
  • S. Diabaté
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Agency FeamFumec UniversityBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Functional InterfacesKIT Campus NorthKarlsruheGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Toxicology and GeneticsKIT Campus NorthKarlsruheGermany

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