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Environ Health Perspect. Aug 2001; 109(8): 859–864.
PMCID: PMC1240416
Research Article
Predictors of airborne endotoxin in the home.
J H Park, D L Spiegelman, D R Gold, H A Burge, and D K Milton
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Abstract
We identified home characteristics associated with the level of airborne endotoxin in 111 Boston-area homes enrolled in a cohort study of home exposures and childhood asthma, and we developed a predictive model to estimate airborne endotoxin. We measured endotoxin in family-room air and in dust from the baby's bed, family room, bedroom, and kitchen floor. Level of airborne endotoxin was weakly correlated (r < 0.3) with level of endotoxin in each of the four types of dust samples and was significantly correlated with endotoxin in family-room dust (p < 0.05). Endotoxin in family-room dust accounted for < 6% of the variability of airborne endotoxin. In a multivariate model, certain home characteristics were positively (p < 0.05) associated with airborne endotoxin. These included current presence of dog (difference in level, dog vs. no dog = 72%, partial R(2 )= 12.8%), past presence of dog (partial R(2) = 5.5%), and endotoxin level in family-room dust (partial R(2) = 5.3%). Use of a dehumidifier (partial R(2) = 6.4%) was negatively associated (p = 0.02; difference = -31%) with airborne endotoxin. Other home characteristics were identified as important determinants of increased airborne endotoxin in this model, but individual coefficients were not statistically significant (alpha = 0.05): total amount of fine dust collected in the home (partial R(2 )= 3.8%), concrete floor in family room (3.7%), water damage (3.6%), and use of cool-mist humidifier in past year (2.7%). This multivariate model explained 42% of the variability of airborne endotoxin levels, a substantial improvement over that with dust endotoxin alone. Airborne endotoxin in Boston-area homes appears to be determined by the presence of dogs, moisture sources, and increased amounts of settled dust.
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