There's More Dust Than There Used to Be

And there's no good way to get rid of it
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2011 9:27 AM CST

If you feel like your house is only getting dustier, you may be right: There’s more dust in the world now than there once was, a study finds. In fact, the amount of airborne dust doubled in the 20th century. Where's it all coming from? There are a few possible culprits, reports the New York Times: climate change, human land use, and North Africa’s droughts and expanding deserts may be contributors. The nooks and crannies of your house aren’t to blame, however, says a researcher behind the study.

"I’m being very particular here" in defining dust, she says. What she studied is “soil particles suspended in the atmosphere,” not pieces of sweater lint, or other human sources. And frustratingly, cleaning can actually worsen the problem: It’s the No. 1 source of household dust (ahead of cooking and movement), as it disturbs the particles and propels them around a room by way of air currents. Can we do anything about it? Perhaps just change our thinking, Michael Totorello writes: After dusting, “is the room half-clean or half-dirty?”
(More scientific study stories.)

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