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Title: Household vacuum cleaners vs. the high-volume surface sampler for collection of carpet dust samples in epidemiologic studies of children.
Authors: Colt JS,  Gunier RB,  Metayer C,  Nishioka MG,  Bell EM,  Reynolds P,  Buffler PA,  Ward MH
Journal: Environ Health
Date: 2008
Branches: OEEB
PubMed ID: 18291036
PMC ID: PMC2265689
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Levels of pesticides and other compounds in carpet dust can be useful indicators of exposure in epidemiologic studies, particularly for young children who are in frequent contact with carpets. The high-volume surface sampler (HVS3) is often used to collect dust samples in the room in which the child had spent the most time. This method can be expensive and cumbersome, and it has been suggested that an easier method would be to remove dust that had already been collected with the household vacuum cleaner. However, the household vacuum integrates exposures over multiple rooms, some of which are not relevant to the child's exposure, and differences in vacuuming equipment and practices could affect the chemical concentration data. Here, we compare levels of pesticides and other compounds in dust from household vacuums to that collected using the HVS3. METHODS: Both methods were used in 45 homes in California. HVS3 samples were collected in one room, while the household vacuum had typically been used throughout the home. The samples were analyzed for 64 organic compounds, including pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), using GC/MS in multiple ion monitoring mode; and for nine metals using conventional microwave-assisted acid digestion combined with ICP/MS. RESULTS: The methods agreed in detecting the presence of the compounds 77% to 100% of the time (median 95%). For compounds with less than 100% agreement, neither method was consistently more sensitive than the other. Median concentrations were similar for most analytes, and Spearman correlation coefficients were 0.60 or higher except for allethrin (0.15) and malathion (0.24), which were detected infrequently, and benzo(k)fluoranthene (0.55), benzo(a)pyrene (0.55), PCB 105 (0.54), PCB 118 (0.54), and PCB 138 (0.58). Assuming that the HVS3 method is the "gold standard," the extent to which the household vacuum cleaner method yields relative risk estimates closer to unity by increasing random measurement error varies by compound and depends on the method used to calculate relative risk. CONCLUSION: The household vacuum cleaner method appears to be a reasonable alternative to the HVS3 for detecting, ranking, and quantifying the concentrations of pesticides and other compounds in carpet dust.