Home Owner’s Dust Causing Skin Irritation

Problem: A home owner called concerned that he and his wife had moved into a new home and dust was settling each night onto their pillows causing skin irritation on their face and necks.

Approach: In discussion with the homeowner MicroVision labs walked the client through how best to sample for dust from the house with special considerations and attention being paid to remodeling work being done in the guest bedroom and attic.

Analysis and Results: Dust samples were analyzed using polarized light microscopy (PLM) to provide percentages of the particle types present in the samples.  MVL was able to determine that there was significant loading of glass fibers in the dust samples with the likely source being contractor’s work in the attic which involved disturbing the fiberglass insulation.  The image on the right shows a few distinct glass fibers with a binder material adhered to them, consistent with fiberglass insulation.

Conclusion:  The data indicated that a significant portion of the dust was from the insulation in the attic.  The contractor had replaced a portion of duct work running to the master bedroom.  During this replacement, fiberglass insulation was knocked into the ducting.  The small glass insulation fibers were spread through the AC ducts and settling out of the air throughout the house.  The client was relieved to know what was causing their skin irritation and the significant dust build up.  Using the results garnered from the analysis from MicroVision Labs they were able to have the contractor clean out the duct work and act to prevent further spread of the insulation fibers and properly clean up the settled dust in the house that was the cause of the homeowner’s skin irritation.