Role of Clothing in Exposure to Indoor Pollutants

Dusan Licina*, Gabriel Bekö, Jianping Cao

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    There is growing evidence that the clothing is an important source of exposure to various chemicals and particles on a daily basis. Emerging knowledge suggests that everyday clothing harbors various contaminants, which if inhaled, ingested, or dermally absorbed, could carry significant health risks. This chapter summarizes the state of the most recent knowledge regarding how clothing, during wear, influences exposure to molecular chemicals, abiotic particles, and biotic particles, including microbes and allergens. The underlying processes that govern the acquisition, retention, and transmission of clothing-associated contaminants and the consequences of these for subsequent exposures are explored. Chemicals of concern have been identified in clothing, including byproducts of their manufacture and chemicals that adhere to clothing during use and care. Analogously, clothing acts as a reservoir for biotic and abiotic particles acquired from occupational and environmental sources. Evidence suggests that while clothing can be protective by acting as a physical or chemical barrier, clothing-mediated exposures can be substantial in certain circumstances and may have adverse health consequences. This complex process is influenced by the type and history of the clothing, the nature of the contaminant, and by wear, care, and storage practices. This chapter also summarizes the most pressing knowledge gaps that are important for better quantification, prediction, and control of clothing-mediated exposures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook of Indoor Air Quality
    Number of pages29
    Publication date2021
    ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-5155-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Chemical exposures
    • Abiotic particles
    • Biological material
    • Exposure modelling
    • Health impacts


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