Does dust consist primarily of human skin

Does dust consist primarily of human skin.

Intro: Air pollution, whether it is outdoor or indoor, in both the scenarios it is degrading the living standards of normal human being of earth’s air. Bountiful production of combustion technology vehicles and installation of industries have polluted the quality of air. The gases or pollutants which are released by the vehicles or manufacturing plants gets indulged in the air and can cause drastic conditions such as Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984 India.

All these particles together make dust we found in house. In history dust was just soil layer from outside which gets settled down inside our house but not anymore. Today’s dust consists of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and harmful components such as allergens as well.

But does dust consist of human skin too?

No matter, how gross it might look but yes dust also constitutes your dead skin as well. A normal human being shed around 500 million skin cells in a day and commonly 0.0085g of skin in each hour. That means in about 1 month you lose your entire outer layer of skin, great to reduce that much weight without any efforts. Dead skin cell tends to get trap or deposited on the wall, floors, or on the furniture in the house and makes essential part of dust.

Benefits of dead skin cells as dust:

It seems gross that we are surrounded by our very own dead skin cells in our house and still there are any benefits of it, but it is true. According to a research by chemist Charles Weschler and colleagues on dust collected from 500 rooms, they have found Squalene and natural oil in the dead skin cells. The natural oil and Squalene which is found in dead skin cells are found to eliminate Ozone from the indoor atmosphere. Squalene is believed to reduce Ozone level by 2- 15%. According to a research increase in skin cells has already tackled one of the major problem which we are facing and that is cleaner air. With increase in population usage of Oxygen from the atmosphere has also increased and dead skin cells are already making it available by removing Ozone off from the ground level.

In previous studies it has also been reviled that a person 90% of their time inside their house and this has raised a concern among the scientist in regards of inhalation of Ozone while resting in house. “In an occupied room human consumes more Ozone than dust” said Weschler. And if the skin cells which we shed, already are actively participating in decreasing the Ozone level in the house then shall we stop dusting the house? While skin cells continue its role even in un occupied room but they all should be removed from home. Dead skin cells can generate allergic reactions among the residents of the house and do not be sure that it is only yours skin cells. Your pets and other pests such as cockroaches, rats etc. too shed skin cells and they are carried in the air with your skin cells as well.


According to Paloma Beamer, dust expert at University of Arizona dust consist of several other types of particles. Usually there are two places from where the dust originates inside our house and they are Indoor and outdoor. While outdoor dust may contain soil particles but inside we are the main sources of dead skin cells and play crucial role in contributing to dust. Beamer’s interest in dust came from her effort to measure of people’s exposure to toxic substances in the house. In a journal in Environmental Science and Technology Beamer has provided an estimation of portion of dust constituting the amount of dust from outside as well as from the inside. She figured that while one third of dust constitutes of indoor organic compounds such as carpet but two third constitutes soil whether it is from outside or inside.

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