Predictors of high endotoxin concentrations in the settled dust of German homes

W Bischof, A Koch, U Gehring, B Fahlbusch, H E Wichmann, J Heinrich et al.
Indoor Air 2002, 12 (1): 2-9
Endotoxin concentrations in settled house dust were measured within the collaborative study named INGA (Indoor Exposure and Genetics in Asthma) together with other asthma-related indoor factors in 405 randomly selected homes in two German cities. Endotoxin was assayed using the quantitative kinetic chromogenic Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) method. The mean concentration of 2,274 ng endotoxin/g dust in living rooms is about two orders of magnitude below mean occupational exposure (e.g. agriculture). Endotoxin concentrations are higher in old buildings (means ratio = (MR) 1.52, 95% C.I.: 1.14; 2.04), and in the lower storey of the dwelling (MR = 1.30, 95% C.I.: 1.04; 1.62). Furthermore, higher endotoxin concentrations are associated with longer occupancy in the apartment (MR = 1.63, 95% C.I.: 1.21; 2.18), high utilisation of the apartment during the sampling period (MR = 2.52, 95% C.I.: 1.42; 4.47), infrequent vacuum cleaning of the carpets (MR = 1.67; 95% C.I.: 1.10; 2.54), an indifferent attitude to ventilation (MR = 1.37; 95% C.I.: 1.03; 1.82), keeping cats (MR = 1.91; 95% C.I.: 1.43; 2.55) and dogs (1.57; 95% C.I.: 1.08; 2.30), as well as the occurrence of mice (MR = 1.39; 95% C.I.: 1.00; 1.93). The season and indoor climate (operative temperature and relative humidity) did not effect endotoxin concentration. These results indicate that high endotoxin concentration in settled dust is an indicator of poor hygienic conditions in homes.

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