Soil ingestion rates for children under 3 years old in Taiwan

Ling Chu Chien, Ming Chien Tsou, Hsing Cheng Hsi, Paloma Beamer, Karen Bradham, Zeng Yei Hseu, Shih Hao Jien, Chuen Bin Jiang, Winston Dang, Halûk Özkaynak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Soil and dust ingestion rates by children are among the most critical exposure factors in determining risks to children from exposures to environmental contaminants in soil and dust. We believe this is the first published soil ingestion study for children in Taiwan using tracer element methodology. In this study, 66 children under 3 years of age were enrolled from Taiwan. Three days of fecal samples and a 24-h duplicate food sample were collected. The soil and household dust samples were also collected from children's homes. Soil ingestion rates were estimated based on silicon (Si) and titanium (Ti). The average soil ingestion rates were 9.6±19.2 mg/day based on Si as a tracer. The estimated soil ingestion rates based on Si did not have statistically significant differences by children's age and gender, although the average soil ingestion rates clearly increased as a function of children's age category. The estimated soil ingestion rates based on Si was significantly and positively correlated with the sum of indoor and outdoor hand-to-mouth frequency rates. The average soil ingestion rates based on Si were generally lower than the results from previous studies for the US children. Ti may not be a suitable tracer for estimating soil ingestion rates in Taiwan because the Ti dioxide is a common additive in food. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that investigated the correlations between soil ingestion rates and mouthing behaviors in Taiwan or other parts of Asia. It is also the first study that could compare available soil ingestion data from different countries and/or different cultures. The hand-to-mouth frequency and health habits are important to estimate the soil ingestion exposure for children. The results in this study are particularly important when assessing children's exposure and potential health risk from nearby contaminated soils in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • children
  • soil ingestion rate
  • tracer element methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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