Endotoxins in indoor air and settled dust in primary schools in a subtropical climate

Heidi Salonen, Caroline Duchaine, Valérie Létourneau, Mandana Mazaheri, Sam Clifford, Lidia Morawska
Environmental Science & Technology 2013 September 3, 47 (17): 9882-90
Endotoxins can significantly affect the air quality in school environments. However, there is currently no reliable method for the measurement of endotoxins, and there is a lack of reference values for endotoxin concentrations to aid in the interpretation of measurement results in school settings. We benchmarked the "baseline" range of endotoxin concentration in indoor air, together with endotoxin load in floor dust, and evaluated the correlation between endotoxin levels in indoor air and settled dust, as well as the effects of temperature and humidity on these levels in subtropical school settings. Bayesian hierarchical modeling indicated that the concentration in indoor air and the load in floor dust were generally (<95th percentile) <13 EU/m(3) and <24,570 EU/m(2), respectively. Exceeding these levels would indicate abnormal sources of endotoxins in the school environment and the need for further investigation. Metaregression indicated no relationship between endotoxin concentration and load, which points to the necessity for measuring endotoxin levels in both the air and settled dust. Temperature increases were associated with lower concentrations in indoor air and higher loads in floor dust. Higher levels of humidity may be associated with lower airborne endotoxin concentrations.

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