Dust is made up of particles that remain suspended in the air for a long time due to their small size. It can contain different types of contaminants each having a specific potential action on the health.
Sources of particles are:
- from the outside air entering into the interior of buildings, especially through the ventilation system (natural dust, pollen, mould, smoke, fine particles of automotive exhaust gas, bio-contaminants, etc.);
- indoor air in relation to the activities of the occupants: smoking, cooking, running heating and combustion appliances (fireplace), cleaning (re-suspending the house dust), DIY, textile fibres, allergens, bio-contaminants, etc.
The particles remain suspended for more or less time depending on their size before coming to rest.
Effects of the particles depend on their size.
The largest are stopped in the nose and throat and can cause nasopharyngitis if they are carriers of infectious microorganisms.
Particles of very small size penetrate deep into the respiratory tract to the bronchioles. They are responsible for the onset of short-term respiratory diseases (inflammation, respiratory allergies, asthma) as also long-term ones (cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - COPD).
Airborne particles can carry bacteria and viruses and promote the spread of infectious diseases.
Furthermore, there may be an interaction between the particles and allergens and this can amplify the allergic reaction.
To limit the accumulation of particles indoors, it is advisable to:
• limit the dust accumulation places that are "dust nests";
• prefer wet cleaning to sweeping (re-suspending of dust);
• vacuum regularly (rugs, carpets);
• avoid smoking;
• remove shoes before entering the house;
• at the entrance place a doormat that is regularly cleaned.