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  • Denise Frakes

Got dust? Got Allergies? Asthma? Dust Bunnies?

Do you have dust problem? Dust bunnies hiding, multiplying, accumulating?

You are not alone. Dusting is not the home chore most of us look forward to. It's usually above toilet cleaning but not far. As a general rule, we probably clean our toilet more frequently than we dust. (dirty toilets are harder to ignore)

So what's the big deal about dust. Can I ignore my dust? Wish it away? Yes, you can ignore and wish, unfortunately it's still there causing harm. Why it's just "dust" right? The question we need to ask is what's in our dust, how big is it and why this matters. This afternoon I got lost in the wonders of dust- enjoy! FASCINATING STUFF!!

  1. What is dust? (kinda disgusting and inspiring)

  2. How small is dust? (new website to geek out on link)

  3. What is 2.5PM? (so small- how big is COVID?)

  4. How do our lungs work and how do particles get into our blood? (Wow)

  5. 15 super interesting facts about dust you may not know. (Snow???)

1. What is dust? I found this great article from Chemical and Engineering News. on the surface it sounds dry but no- absolutely interesting. "More than just dirt, house dust is a mix of sloughed-off skin cells, hair, clothing fibers, bacteria, dust mites, bits of dead bugs, soil particles, pollen, and microscopic specks of plastic. It’s our detritus and, it turns out, has a lot to reveal about our lifestyle.

For one thing, dust is far from inert. Those shed hairs and old skin cells can soak up a constellation of contaminants originating from consumer products that we bring into our homes. Other environmental contaminants can be tracked indoors on the soles of our shoes. So in addition to fluffy hair and garden dirt, dust can hold a witch’s brew of persistent organic pollutants, metals, endocrine disruptors, and more.

Not only does dust hold a long memory of the contaminants introduced to a house, but it’s also a continual source of exposure for the residents. Dust gets resuspended when it’s disturbed and will recirculate throughout the house, picking up substances before returning once more to the floor. “Year over year, dust accumulates in the home,” says Miriam L. Diamond, an environmental chemist at the University of Toronto. Even after regular cleaning, it still accretes because homes are tightly sealed environments, and the dust gets entrenched in carpets and crevices. Dust from an old house may retain legacy pollutants such as DDT that were banned almost half a century ago, she says." Tracing the Chemistry of Household dust. by Janet Pelley Chemical & Engineering News Read the whole article here

2. How small is dust? Dust can be many sizes. The most dangerous being the dust you can't even see. 2.5PM. There particles are so small they can get deep into your lungs. They are so small, they keeps re-circulating in the air staying airborne for days. Big dust can break apart and turn into smaller and smaller particles creating microparticles. Poor air quality leads to a smorgasbord of health problems. Which Iis for another post. Check out this great graphic of particles. This image comes from Visual Capitalist-I love this site!

If you will notice a dust particle is larger and smaller than our red blood cells. Check out the size of wildfire particles!! So cool.

3. What is 2.5PM? If you will look each particle has a number next to it. It is it's size in ums. What is a um you ask. "The micrometre is a common unit of measurement for wavelengths of infrared radiation as well as sizes of biological cells and bacteria. What does um mean in size? (metrology) Symbol for micrometer (micrometre), an SI unit of length equal to 10−6 meters (metres)." Wikipedia

What about PM? Here is our EPA to give you the details

"What is PM, and how does it get into the air? Size comparisons for PM particles

PM stands for particulate matter (also called particle pollution): the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.

Particle pollution includes:

  • PM10 : inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller; and

  • PM2.5 : fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller.

    • How small is 2.5 micrometers? Think about a single hair from your head. The average human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter – making it 30 times larger than the largest fine particle" EPA

4. How do our lungs work..and how do particles get into our blood? Here we are going to the American Lung Association for short 3 minute video to explain.

Did you watch it? Scroll back up and watch. This is well worth your time. It explains why dust and particles and pollution are so important. It explains how our lungs function and how particles get into our blood!- fascinating! Our bodies are incredible!!

5. 15 Super Interesting Facts about dust you may not know. Full 15 and link Here

I thought all 15 were super cool. These 4 are my favorites.

#2 "The average person creates 1/3 ounce of dead skin each week, which is about the weight of a car key. This dead skin combines with other particles to create household dust."

#9 "This airborne dust also helps to create a cloud condensation nucleus that allows water droplets to form in clouds. When these water droplets get heavy enough, they fall to the ground as rain. Inside every raindrop is a piece of dust! The same goes for snowflakes."

#11 "The typical human hair is 100 microns in diameter, but big particles of dust are 2.5 to 10 microns wide. Dust 2.5 microns or smaller is able to get stuck in the lungs and cause a wide variety of health issues."

#14 "Dust is responsible for beautiful sunrises and sunsets, as the dust in the atmosphere absorbs blue and green colors but allows the orange and red colors through. This creates the colors that we see during a sunrise or sunset."

Thank you for joining me on this deep dive into dust. You may not like dusting but do you at least have a new appreciation for your dust?

Happy Travels my friend,


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