Monitoring and Reducing Exposure of Infants to Pollutants in House Dust

  • John W. Roberts
  • Lance A. Wallace
  • David E. Camann
  • Philip Dickey
  • Steven G. Gilbert
  • Robert G. Lewis
  • Tim K. Takaro
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 201)


Babies come with great potential but great vulnerability. It is estimated that infants eat twice as much dust (100 mg vs. 50 mg/d), weigh one sixth as much, and are up to ten times more vulnerable than are adults to dust exposure (U.S. EPA 2002, 2003). The developing neurological, immune, digestive, and other bodily systems of infants are easily affected at low doses and these systems are less able to metabolize, detoxify, and excrete pollutants (Grandjean and Landrigan 2006; U.S. EPA 1996, 2002, 2003). Up to 11% of toddlers may exhibit pica behavior, eating nonfood items, and may consume up to 10 g of soil and dust per day (Calabrese and Stanek 1991; Mahaffey and Annest 1985). The time of life when exposure occurs may be as important as the dose (Grandjean and Landrigan 2006; Louis et al. 2007). Infants breathe more air, drink and eat more relative to their body weight, and engage in risky behaviors such as mouthing hands, toys, furniture, and other nonfood items. They crawl on floors, where they are in close proximity to carpets, and may breathe higher levels of dust (Rodes et al. 1996). Exposures early in life may trigger sensitization leading to development of chronic diseases such as asthma or predispose to cancer that takes decades to develop (Louis et al. 2007).


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder House Dust Vacuum Cleaner Dust Exposure Superfund Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Barbara Tombleson and Diane Dishion for their help in preparing and proofreading the manuscript as well as Bill Budd, Russell E. Crutcher, Greg Glass, Peter Hummer, Leah Michelson, and Michael G. Ruby for their contribution to house dust research presented in this manuscript. We also thank an anonymous reviewer for a very detailed review resulting in a much-improved manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Roberts
  • Lance A. Wallace
    • 1
  • David E. Camann
  • Philip Dickey
  • Steven G. Gilbert
  • Robert G. Lewis
  • Tim K. Takaro
  1. 1.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, retiredRestonUSA

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