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The Secret Life of Dust

By Hannah Holmes

Dust: The Secret Life of Dust by Hannah Holmes, Healthy Home & Green Living Books & Videos -

Publisher Info

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

10475 Crosspoint Blvd.

Indianapolis, IN  46256 USA


The Secret Life of Dust, by science writer Hannah Holmes, covers the often overlooked subject of dust. The book details the origins, composition, and impact of dust on our planet and humans - from the cosmos to the kitchen counter. The Secret Life of Dust covers both the benefits and the harmful effects of dust - in the past, present, and possibly the future. 218 pages.


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Fascinating facts from the book:

  • " breathe about 700,000 of your own skin flakes each day"
  • "...a cup of flour... isn't legally filthy until it contains about 150 insect fragments and a couple of rodent hairs"
  • "...the average child eats 15 or 20 milligrams of dust a day, and superslurpers eat 30 to 50 milligrams."



"Picture a juice glass sitting on a porch railing in the sunshine. It may look empty, but churning inside that glass are twenty-five thousand microscopic pieces of dust - at least. And these dusts are a little bit of everything on Earth. One minute, they are tiny crumbs chipped off Saharan sand, and invisible shreds of camel hair. Then the wind shifts, and there are spores of forest fungi and fragments of desiccated violets. A bus stops nearby to take on passengers, and invisible flakes of human skin, mixed with miniscule specks of black soot momentarily dominate the mix. Every time you inhale, thousands upon thousands of motes swirl into your body. Some lodge in the maze of you nose. Some stick to your throat. Others find sanctuary deep in your lungs. By the time you have read this far, you may have inhaled one-hundred-fifty thousand of these worldly specks - if you live in one of the cleanest corners of the planet. If you live in a more grubby region, you've probably just inhaled more than a million. Although these dusts have been waved aside for most of human history, in this book we'll see that dust is terrifically consequential. Some dusts menace the planet and its living residents. Some are beneficial to people, plants, and animals. Many are merely fascinating. All are going under the microscope. And the secret lives of dust are being revealed."


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The Secret Life of Dust:  Created on January 30th, 2010.  Last Modified on February 9th, 2010


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