Desert areas are usually characterized by a continuous deposition of fine airborne particles. Over time, this process results in the accumulation of silt and clay on desert surfaces. We evaluated health effects associated with regional atmospheric dust, or geogenic dust, deposited on surfaces in the Nellis Dunes Recreation Area (NDRA) in Clark County, Nevada, a popular off-road vehicle (ORV) recreational site frequented daily by riders, families, and day campers. Because of atmospheric mixing and the mostly regional origin of the accumulated particles, the re-suspended airborne dust is composed of a complex mixture of minerals and metals including aluminum, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, arsenic, strontium, cesium, lead, uranium, and others. Geogenic dust with a median diameter of 4.1 μm was administered via oropharyngeal aspiration to female B6C3F1 mice at doses of 0.01 to 100 mg dust/kg body weight, four times, a week apart, for 28-days. Immuno- and neurotoxicological outcomes 24 h following the last exposure were evaluated. Antigen-specific IgM responses were dose-responsively suppressed at 0.1, 1.0, 10 and 100 mg/kg/day. Splenic and thymic lymphocytic subpopulations and natural killer cell activity also were significantly reduced. Antibodies against MBP, NF-68, and GFAP were not affected, while brain CD3+ T cells were decreased in number. A lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) of 0.1 mg/kg/day and a no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 0.01 mg/kg/day were derived based on the antigen-specific IgM responses.
Keil, D. E., Buck, B., Goossens, D., Teng, Y., Pollard, J., McLaurin, B., … DeWitt, J. (2016). Health effects from exposure to atmospheric mineral dust near Las Vegas, NV, USA. Toxicology Reports, 3, 785–795. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2016.09.009