International analysis of sources and human health risk associated with trace metal contaminants in residential indoor dust

Cynthia Faye Isley*, Kara L. Fry, Xiaochi Liu, Gabriel Michael Filippelli, Jane A. Entwistle, Adam P. Martin, Melanie Kah, Diana Meza-Figueroa, John T. Shukle, Khadija Jabeen, Abimbola O. Famuyiwa, Liqin Wu, Neda Sharifi Soltani, Israel N. Y. Doyi, Ariadne Argyraki, Kin Fai Ho, Chenyin Dong, Peggy Gunkel-Grillon, C. Marjorie Aelion, Mark Patrick Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)


People spend increasing amounts of time at home, yet the indoor home environment remains understudied in terms of potential exposure to toxic trace metals. We evaluated trace metal (and metalloid) concentrations (As, Cu, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) and health risks in indoor dust from homes from 35 countries, along with a suite of potentially contributory residential characteristics. The objective was to determine trace metal source inputs and home environment conditions associated with increasing exposure risk across a range of international communities. For all countries, enrichments compared to global crustal values were Zn > Pb > Cu > As > Cr > Ni; with the greatest health risk from Cr, followed by As > Pb > Mn > Cu > Ni > Zn. Three main indoor dust sources were identified, with a Pb-Zn-As factor related to legacy Pb sources, a Zn-Cu factor reflecting building materials, and a Mn factor indicative of natural soil sources. Increasing home age was associated with greater Pb and As concentrations (5.0 and 0.48 mg/kg per year of home age, respectively), as were peeling paint and garden access. Therefore, these factors form important considerations for the development of evidence-based management strategies to reduce potential risks posed by indoor house dust. Recent findings indicate neurocognitive effects from low concentrations of metal exposures; hence, an understanding of the home exposome is vital.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053−1068
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number2
Early online date23 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • dust
  • trace metals
  • homes
  • human health risk
  • lead
  • sources
  • enrichment
  • modeling


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