Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
CADMIUM in the HOME
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CAT DANDER in BUILDINGS
CELL PHONE RADIATION
CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS in WATER
COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
DUST SAMPLING PROCEDURE
EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD
EMF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDSRE
ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS at BUILDINGS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR TILE ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
HEATING OIL EXPOSURE HAZARDS, LIMITS
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSE DUST COMPONENTS
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
Legionella Legionnaires' Disease
LIGHT, GUIDE to FORENSIC USE
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MILDEW in BUILDINGS ?
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLD
MOLD CONSULTANTS / INSPECTORS
MOLD DETECTION & INSPECTION GUIDE
MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE
MOLD RELATED ILLNESS GUIDE
MSDS Material Safety Data Sheets
MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY ODORS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
OIL, HEATING, EXPOSURE HAZARDS, LIMITS
OIL HEAT ODORS & NOISES
OIL SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
PET ALLERGENS / PET DANDER
PET STAINS & MARKS in BUILDINGS
PLASTIC ODORS-SCREENS, SIDING
PLUMBING SYSTEM ODORS
PVC - VINYL BUILDING PRODUCTS
RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS
SEPTIC METHANE GAS
SEPTIC SYSTEM ODORS
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
SEWER GAS ODORS
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
UFFI UREA FORMALDEHYDE FOAM INSULATION
URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS VOCs
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WORLD TRADE CENTER 9-11 DUST PHOTOS
Dust samples may focus on "old dust" or "recent dust" found in buildings or on building surfaces. This article defines old building dust, recent building dust, where each type of dust may be found, and why we may want to collect and examine old dust or recent dust in buildings. The thick dust shown in our page top photo is probably an "old dust" accumulation.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
At DUST SAMPLING PROCEDURE we discuss whether or not one should be testing for problem dust articles at all?
Probably not: If the building IAQ question is simply about mold identification, and you already see mold on indoor surfaces, NO mold testing is needed to just to confirm that mold is present in the building and that cleanup is needed. Sure, it might be just cosmetic mold (see Recognize Cosmetic Mold) but for small mold cleanup jobs testing is not normally appropriate.
Maybe yes: But if you need to identify the contents of dust, for example to help track down possible sources of building dust particles, or to screen for problem particles such as dust mite fecals, insect fragments, animal dander or hair, soot, fiberglass, etc., or if a large mold remediation project is planned, tests may be needed for project control - see When to identify mold?.
Dust sampling theory: usefulness & definitions of "old dust" and "recent dust" in buildings & where these are found
The following description of "old dust" and "recent dust" are my subjective opinion based on experience and are intended to supplement the building settled dust sampling method discussed at MOLD TEST KITS (collecting settled dust from individual or multiple surfaces using clear adhesive tape) or at VACUUM CASSETTE FILTER SAMPLE TESTS for DUST / MOLD (collecting settled building dust from one or multiple surfaces using vacuum cassettes).
Definition, Location, & Usefulness of Collecting "old" building dust
Old dust represents particles settling out of building air a time period of weeks, months, years, or dust conditions before, or at the end of a recent demolition, renovation, or cleanup project.
Even after recent cleaning, old building dust can often be found in locations rarely cleaned such as horizontal trim over a door, on window muntins or blinds, under radiators, etc. An old dust sample is useful to get an idea of the historically dominant particles present in a building and to screen for unusual particles that should not be there. The common dominant particles in most residential buildings are fabric fibers, skin cells, often starch granules (photo above left) and at lower levels, typical airborne mold, dust mite fecals and similar material.
Definition, Location, & Usefulness of Collecting "recent" building dust
Recent dust represents particles settling out of building air only recently, such as dust falling onto a surface that we know was recently cleaned completely. While statistically less robust since it represents only a shorter time interval (typically days or weeks), recent dust can serve as a screen to look for evidence that problem particles remain in a building at actionable levels - or not.
Just how much time needs to elapse between building cleaning and the collection of a meaningful sample of recent building dust varies from hours to a month, depending on building materials, contents, occupancy, HVAC systems, cleanliness of adjoining areas and similar factors. Key is to collect recent dust from a surface that we know (and perhaps confirmed by earlier sampling) was previously cleaned and very low in settled dust particles at the start of the test period.
In this case an old dust sample might find high levels, even dominant levels of vermiculite insulation in building areas near the spill or where HVAC systems transported building dust from the spill to other areas. A recent dust sample should find vermiculite fragments only low levels, perhaps just at incidental levels, and certainly not dominant level.
If you have questions about the best particle sample collection procedure for your situation, Contact Us by email.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Use the search box below to ask a question or to search the InspectApedia.com website.
Ask a Question or Enter Search Terms in the InspectApedia search box just below.
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.