Characterization of indoor dust from Brazil and evaluation of the cytotoxicity in A549 lung cells

E. Deschamps, P. G. Weidler, F. Friedrich, C. Weiss, S. Diabaté

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, ambient air particulate matter (PM) has been clearly associated with adverse health effects. In Brazil, small and poor communities are exposed to indoor dust derived from both natural sources, identified as blowing soil dust, and anthropogenic particles from mining activities. This study investigates the physicochemical and mineralogical composition of indoor PM10 dust samples collected in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and evaluates its cytotoxicity and inflammatory potential. The mean PM10 mass concentration was 206 μg/m3. The high dust concentration in the interior of the residences is strongly related to blowing soil dust. The chemical and mineralogical compositions were determined by ICP-OES and XRD, and the most prominent minerals were clays, Fe-oxide, quartz, feldspars, Al(hydr)oxides, zeolites, and anatase, containing the transition metals Fe, Cr, V, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ti, and Mn as well as the metalloid As. The indoor dust samples presented a low water solubility of about 6 %. In vitro experiments were carried out with human lung alveolar carcinoma cells (A549) to study the toxicological effects. The influence of the PM10 dust samples on cell viability, intracellular formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-8 was analysed. The indoor dust showed little effects on alamarBlue reduction indicating unaltered mitochondrial activity. However, significant cell membrane damage, ROS production, and IL-8 release were detected in dependence of dose and time. This study will support the implementation of mitigation actions in the investigated area in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Arsenic
  • Brazil
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Environment
  • Indoor dust


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