Understanding the Influence of Children's Behaviors and Household Characteristics on Soil/Dust Ingestion Rates

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


The presence of contaminants (such as heavy metals, pesticides, flame retardants) in soil and dust can pose a health risk to young children, especially as their bodies are still developing. Therefore, it is important to investigate the behaviors that could influence soil and dust ingestion rates in children. To gain insight into this issue, a survey was conducted in North Carolina, Arizona, and Florida. A total of 450 households are expected to participate, out of which 385 have participated so far. The ethnicity of Non-Hispanic (Black and White) children accounted for the majority of the participants (68%). The study recruited parents with children aged 6 months to 6 years and asked them questions about their children's behavior in their natural home environment, taking into account the characteristics of their home dynamics. The survey included questions on the sociodemographic background of the parents, as well as several factors that could affect their children's ingestion rates of soil and dust. Some of the questions asked were: "Does your child put items in mouth?", "How often does your child put items in his/her mouth?", "What kind of items does your child put in mouth?", "How frequently do you clean?", "What is the method of cleaning?". Some summarized findings are presented here. For example, 54% of non-Hispanic washed their hands before meals or snacks, compared with 27% of Hispanics.

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