Variation of dust endotoxin concentrations by location and time within homes of young children

Dennis R Ownby, Edward L Peterson, L Keoki Williams, Edward M Zoratti, Ganesa R Wegienka, Kimberley J Woodcroft, Christine L M Joseph, Christine C Johnson
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 2010, 21 (3): 533-40
Endotoxin may affect the development of allergic disease in childhood but little is known about endotoxin variation within homes. We sought to determine endotoxin concentration agreement within homes when five locations were each sampled twice 5 months apart. Endotoxin was measured using the recombinant Limulus factor C assay in dust samples from 585 homes of children enrolled in a prospective study and again in 335 homes 5 months later. The five locations sampled in each home were the child's bedroom floor, child's bed, mother's bedroom floor, mother's bed and living room floor. Concentrations of 4 allergens (Can f 1, Fel d 1, Der f 1 and Bla g 2) were also measured from the child's bedroom floor. In pair-wise comparisons, endotoxin concentrations in all locations within each home were significantly different from all other locations (p < 0.001) except for the child's and mother's bedroom floors (p = 0.272). Spearman correlations between endotoxin concentrations from the different locations were all statistically significant (p < 0.05) but of modest magnitude (r = 0.24-0.54). Similarly, correlations at each site over the 5 month observation interval were statistically significant but modest (r = 0.17-0.44). Pets and season of the year did not affect correlations, although correlations were lower if the floor was not carpeted. Endotoxin concentrations at all locations were minimally correlated with allergen concentrations in both negative and positive directions (r = -0.12 to 0.12). We conclude that a single measurement of endotoxin from a home dust sample provides an imprecise estimate of dust endotoxin concentrations in other locations within the home and over a relatively short observation interval.

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