Clothing as a transport vector for airborne particles: Chamber study

Strong evidence suggests that clothing serves as a reservoir of chemical pollutants and particles, including bioaerosols, which may have health significance. However, little is known about the role that clothing may play as a transport vector for inhaled airborne particles. Here, we contribute toward bridging the knowledge gap by conducting experiments to investigate clothing release fraction (CRF), determined as the size‐dependent ratio of released to deposited particulate matter in the diameter range 0.5‐10 μm. In a fully controlled chamber with low background particle levels, we deployed a programmable robot to reproducibly quantify the size‐dependent CRF as a function of motion type and intensity, dust loadings, and activity duration. On average, 0.3%‐3% of deposited particles were subsequently released with fabric motion, confirming that clothing can act as a vehicle for transporting airborne particles. The CRF increased with the vigor of movement and with dust loading. Rubbing and shaking the fabric were more effective than fabric stretching in resuspending particles. We also found that most of the release happened quickly after the onset of the resuspension activity. Particle size substantially influenced the CRF, with larger particles exhibiting higher values.

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Indoor Air, 28, 3, 404-414
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 Record created 2018-07-03, last modified 2019-12-05

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