Household Dust from a City in Morocco: Characterization by Scanning Electron Microscopy

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Geosciences and Environment Group, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Ibn Zohr University, P.O.Box 8106 Dakhla Street, 80000, Agadir, Morocco

2 Laboratory of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ibn Zohr University, P.O.Box 8106 Dakhla Street, 80000, Agadir, Morocco


Exposure to household dust is a common occurrence in all countries and causes various diseases. This study provided information on the number, shape, size distribution, and elemental composition of household dust particles collected in urban homes in Agadir city in Morocco. Moreover, a potential human health risk of exposure has been identified based on current research. Samples were analyzed using computer-controlled scanning electron microscopy and ImageJ image processing program. A total of 3296 particles were analyzed for their size, and 76 particles were classified according to their size and elemental composition. Household dust particles were classified in six types: micro-aggregates (31.6%), biogenic (5.3%), spherical (17.1%), subrounded (7.9%), subangular (11.8%), and angular (26.3%). These particles were determined to have originated from a distant source (Trask classification index between 1 and 2.5). They were large (Skewness asymmetry coefficient > 1), and ranged from 0.2 to 363 µm with an average value of 22.8 ± 0.6 µm in diameter. Dust particles with diameters of 5-10 µm and 10-20 µm were the most abundant, while dust diameters of 10-20 µm, 20-30 µm, and > 100 µm were the highest in volume. The domestic dust deposition rate was 19.8 ± 7.4 g/m2 per year. Household dust is one of the major sources of PM10 in the residential environment (44.6% of the total number of particles), and the studied properties of house dust are highly related to human health. Household dust is a critical element to be considered in the occurrence of respiratory and cardiovascular infections.


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