Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 181–193 | Cite as

Composition of heavy metals in indoor dust and their possible exposure: a case study of preschool children in Malaysia

  • Mohd Talib LatifEmail author
  • Saw Mei Yong
  • Azlina Saad
  • Noorlin Mohamad
  • Nor Hafizah Baharudin
  • Mazlin Bin Mokhtar
  • Norhayati Mohd Tahir


The aim of this study is to determine the levels of selected heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cd, Fe and Cr) at ten preschools in Selangor, Malaysia. Dust samples from the interior of classrooms and surface soils were collected using soft paint brushes while Kimwipes were used to collect samples of dust from interior walls and children’s palms. Heavy metals in the dust samples were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The concentrations of the selected heavy metals in the indoor dust were dominated by Fe with a concentration of 4,801 ± 1,873 μgg−1 followed by Pb > Zn > Cr and Cd with concentration of 253.5 ± 83.2, 144.9 ± 73.4, 11.9 ± 6.8 and 0.23 ± 0.10 μgg−1, respectively. Fe also had the highest concentration of all the heavy metals investigated in the samples taken of soil dust (8,225 ± 6,800 μgg−1), the interior walls (1,865 ± 756 μgm−2) and children’s palms (3,882 ± 3,401 μgm−2). Using enrichment factor (EF) analyses, Pb, Zn and Cd in the indoor dust were found contributed by anthropogenic factors while the same was true for Zn, Cd and Cr in the indoor wall and children’s palm samples.


Heavy metals Indoor dust Preschools Surface soils Interior walls 



We also would like to thank the Universiti Kebangssan Malaysia for Research University Grants (UKM-AP-2011-23 and DIP-2012-020) and Ministry of Education for Fundamental Research Grant (FRGS/1/2013/STWN01/UKM/02/2). Thanks to ACP JSPS MOHE Project and LRGS grant 203/PKT/6724003&4 for partial support towards the success of this research. Special thanks to Alena Sanusi, Fatimah Ahamad and K Alexander for proof reading this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohd Talib Latif
    • 1
    Email author
  • Saw Mei Yong
    • 1
  • Azlina Saad
    • 1
  • Noorlin Mohamad
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nor Hafizah Baharudin
    • 1
  • Mazlin Bin Mokhtar
    • 3
  • Norhayati Mohd Tahir
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Engineering Science, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala TerengganuMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI)Universiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  4. 4.Environmental Research Group (ERG), Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala TerengganuMalaysia
  5. 5.Fellow Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS)Universiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala TerengganuMalaysia

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