A soiling system for evaluation of house dust, allergens, and lead retention on carpets and other surfaces

Roger D. Lewis, Patrick N. Breysse, David A. Sterling, Brad King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Artificial soiling of carpeted or other floor surfaces has several important applications in human exposure assessment and textile research including evaluation of textile properties, sampling devices, and cleaning regimens. A method was developed and validated to deposit uniform and reproducible known quantities of house dust, allergens, and leaded dust on carpets. The soiling apparatus consisted of a 100 cm £ 60 cm inclined steel track and a plastic cylinder, with a series of staggered holes, that contains a known volume of reference house dust. After deposition, the dust is embedded by dragging a steel rod over the carpet surface. Deposition tests were performed with bulk house dust, sodiumchloride, and house dust with reference quantities of dust mite allergen and lead. The apparatus deposited equivalent (arithmetic mean) amounts of dust, sodium chloride, and dust mite allergen on the front and back halves of test carpets. The introduction of inert fumed silica to the reference sample aided in dispersal of dust over test surfaces. Little to no variation in mean deposition was found within or between 4 days of testing. Using a grid containing weighing boats under the apparatus, spatial deposition was found to vary across a 92× 46 cm surface by 13 percent. The apparatus deposited reproducible mean quantities of bulk dust on test surfaces from 7 g/m2to 28 g/m2 with a coefficient of variation ranging from4–6 percent. The apparatus could be altered to deliver smaller or larger amounts of dust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalApplied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Artificial Soiling
  • Carpets
  • Dust Mite Allergen
  • House Dust
  • Leaded Dust
  • Rolling Perforated Cylinder
  • Surface Sampling
  • Textile Soiling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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