Protocol - Dust Collection - Vacuum Bag

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Protocol Name from Source:

Atrazine Exposure Study, Vacuum Cleaner Dust Collection Protocol, 2001


Publicly available


The respondent is mailed instructions and a sealable plastic bag to collect dust from his or her vacuum cleaner. The respondent is asked to collect the dust from his or her vacuum cleaner and mail it to the laboratory. At the laboratory, the sample is sieved, weighed, and analyzed for environmental contaminants.


Note: The following protocol was used to measure the pesticide atrazine in the dust sample. Information has been provided at the end of this protocol on other types of environmental contaminants that can be obtained from this sample.


When to Collect

Collect the vacuum dust sample any time within 1 week after you received your sampling kit. Please send us a vacuum cleaner bag that has been in use for a while so that it contains plenty of dust. If a new bag has been installed in your cleaner recently, please vacuum twice before removing the bag.

If your vacuum cleaner does not have a disposable bag, then transfer the dust collected into the resealable plastic bag.

If your vacuum cleaner is the type that uses water, then try to scrape out some dust from the inlet hose and around the seals. Try to collect as much as possible. We do not want the water from the vacuum cleaner.

How to Collect

1. Remove the folded clear plastic trash bag or the resealable plastic bag marked Vacuum Dust from your sampling kit.

2. Following the instructions provided with your vacuum cleaner, remove the disposable bag and place it in the plastic trash bag. Tie the plastic bag with the tie wrap attached to the outside of the trash bag. If you do not have a disposable bag, then empty the contents of the vacuum into the resealable plastic bag marked Vacuum Dust.

3. Record the date and time on the label attached to the trash bag or the resealable plastic bag. Also record how many days the vacuum has been used since changing out the bag or emptying the collection container (in cases of vacuums with no bags). An estimated time will be appropriate if you do not know the exact number of days.


Vacuum Dust Bag

4. Place the trash bag containing the vacuum cleaner bag or the resealable plastic bag marked Vacuum Dust in the cardboard box that was used to ship your sampling kit to you. Do not refrigerate or freeze the vacuum dust sample.

5. If applicable, install another bag in your vacuum cleaner before you use it again.

6. Send the plastic bag (with dust sample enclosed) to the laboratory.

For pesticide analysis the dust samples can be shipped to the laboratory at room temperature. For allergen and endotoxin analyses the dust samples need to be shipped on frozen ice packs.


At the laboratory the dust sample needs to be sieved and weighed. Dust samples can be stored at -20° C until analysis. Organochlorine, organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroids require a hexane:acetone method and GC/MS analysis, cat and dust mite allergens require analysis via monoclonal-antibody-based, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and endotoxins require a limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) assay.

Personnel and Training Required

The respondent collects a dust sample from his or her vacuum bag and is responsible for sending it to the laboratory for analysis. Trained laboratory technicians are required to sieve, freeze, and analyze the dust.

Equipment Needs

Supplies and equipment are needed to collect, process (through a mesh sieve), freeze (-20°C freezer), and analyze the dust sample. The equipment used for analysis depends on the analyte. Please refer to a specialist for more details on appropriate collection and storage recommendations.


Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualYes
Major equipmentYes
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingYes

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:


Specific Instructions:

If the timing of the dust collection (e.g., time of year, timing with respect to prior house cleaning) is critical, the researcher should inform the respondent.

Research Domain Information

Release Date:

May 31, 2016


Self-administered collection of the respondent’s vacuum bag for measurement of various environmental contaminants.


Collection of a respondent’s vacuum bag yields a dust sample that may be used to measure various environmental contaminants in the home that are brought into the home on persons or objects or formed in the home. These contaminants include metals, toxic chemicals that may adhere to dust, and biologics like mold, dust mite, roach, rodent, and pet allergens. Such contaminants may affect the health of the residents who live in the home in a number of ways, including toxicity, sensitization with allergens, and triggering or exacerbating allergic and asthmatic responses.

Selection Rationale

Vacuum bags can feasibly be collected by the respondent and are a low-cost method to obtain environmental samples from a home.


English, Spanish


Common Data Elements (CDE)Person Household Dust Contaminant Text2954207CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC)Environ expo dust vacuum proto62536-8LOINC

Process and Review

The [link[phenx.org/node/102|Expert Review Panel #2]] (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.

Guidance from ERP 2 includes:

• No significant changes to measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive ([link[www.phenxtoolkit.org/index.php?pageLink=browse.archive.protocols&id=60000|link]])


RTI International. (2001). Atrazine Exposure Study. Vacuum Cleaner Dust Collection Protocol. Research Triangle Park, NC: Author.

General References

Arbes, S. J., Jr., Sever, M., Vaughn, B., Mehta, J., Lynch, J. T., Mitchell, H., . . . Zeldin, D. C. (2005). Feasibility of using subject-collected dust samples in epidemiologic and clinical studies of indoor allergens. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(6), 665-669.

Colt, J. S., Gunier, R. B., Metayer, C., Nishioka, M. G., Bell, E. M., Reynolds, P., Buffler, P. A., & Ward, M. H. (2008). Household vacuum cleaners vs. the high-volume surface sampler for collection of carpet dust samples in epidemiologic studies of children. Environmental Health 7, 6.

Metayer, C. (2006). The Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study (NCCLS): 10 Years of Experience in Environmental and Genetic Epidemiology. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Basic Research Program Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Protocol ID:



Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX061201_Time_Of_CollectionPX061201010000Time vacuum bag was emptied4N/A
PX061201_Number_Days_UsedPX061201020000Number of Days Vacuum Has Been Used Since Changing Out the Bag or Emptying the Collection Chamber4N/A
PX061201_Sample_WeightPX061201030000Weight of dust collected4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_1PX061201040000Name of first organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_1_AmountPX061201040100Concentration of first organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_2PX061201050000Name of second organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_2_AmountPX061201050100Concentration of second organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_3PX061201060000Name of third organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_3_AmountPX061201060100Concentration of third organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_4PX061201070000Name of fourth organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_4_AmountPX061201070100Concentration of fourth organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_5PX061201080000Name of fifth organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Organic_Compound_5_AmountPX061201080100Concentration of fifth organic compound measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_1PX061201090000Name of first allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_1_AmountPX061201090100Concentration of first allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_2PX061201100000Name of second allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_2_AmountPX061201100100Concentration of second allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_3PX061201110000Name of third allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_3_AmountPX061201110100Concentration of third allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_4PX061201120000Name of fourth allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_4_AmountPX061201120100Concentration of fourth allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_5PX061201130000Name of fifth allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Allergen_5_AmountPX061201130100Concentration of fifth allergen measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_1PX061201140000Name of first endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_1_AmountPX061201140100Concentration of first endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_2PX061201150000Name of second endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_2_AmountPX061201150100Concentration of second endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_3PX061201160000Name of third endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_3_AmountPX061201160100Concentration of third endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_4PX061201170000Name of fourth endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_4_AmountPX061201170100Concentration of fourth endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_5PX061201180000Name of fifth endotoxin measured4N/A
PX061201_Endotoxin_5_AmountPX061201180100Concentration of fifth endotoxin measured4N/A