MDPI, Atmosphere, 12(10), p. 785, 2019
Residential dust is recognized as a major source of environmental contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and plasticizers, such as phthalic acid esters (PAEs). A sampling campaign was carried out to characterize the dust fraction of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 µm (PM10), using an in situ resuspension chamber in three rooms (kitchen, living room, and bedroom) of four Spanish houses. Two samples per room were collected with, at least, a one-week interval. The PM10 samples were analyzed for their carbonaceous content by a thermo-optical technique and, after solvent extraction, for 20 PAHs, 8 PAEs and one non-phthalate plasticizer (DEHA) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In general, higher dust loads were observed for parquet flooring as compared with tile. The highest dust loads were obtained for rugs. Total carbon accounted for 9.3 to 51 wt% of the PM10 mass. Plasticizer mass fractions varied from 5 µg g−1 to 17 mg g−1 PM10, whereas lower contributions were registered for PAHs (0.98 to 116 µg g−1). The plasticizer and PAH daily intakes for children and adults via dust ingestion were estimated to be three to four orders of magnitude higher than those via inhalation and dermal contact. The thoracic fraction of household dust was estimated to contribute to an excess of 7.2 to 14 per million people new cancer cases, which exceeds the acceptable risk of one per million.