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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Associations between evaporative cooling and dust mite allergens, endotoxins, and β-(1→3)-D-glucans in house dust: A study of low-income homes

James D Johnston, Ashlin E Cowger, Robert J Graul, Ryan Nash, Josie A Tueller, Nathan R Hendrickson, Daniel R Robinson, John D Beard, K Scott Weber
Indoor Air 2019 August 28
31463967
Recent work suggests that evaporative coolers increase the level and diversity of bioaerosols, but this association remains understudied in low-income homes. We conducted a cross-sectional study of metropolitan, low-income homes in Utah with evaporative coolers (n = 20) and central air conditioners (n=28). Dust samples (N = 147) were collected from four locations in each home, and analyzed for dust mite allergens Der p 1 and Der f 1, endotoxins, and β-(1→3)-D-glucans. In all sample locations combined, Der p 1 or Der f 1 was significantly higher in evaporative cooler versus central air conditioning homes (OR = 2.29, 95% CI = 1.05 - 4.98). Endotoxin concentration was significantly higher in evaporative cooler versus central air conditioning homes in furniture (geometric mean (GM) = 8.05 vs. 2.85 EU/mg, P < 0.01) and all samples combined (GM = 3.60 vs. 1.29 EU/mg, P = 0.03). β-(1→3)-D-glucan concentration and surface loads were significantly higher in evaporative cooler versus central air conditioning homes in all four sample locations and all samples combined (P < 0.01). Our study suggests that low-income, evaporative cooled homes have higher levels of immunologically-important bioaerosols than central air-conditioned homes in dry climates, warranting studies on health implications and other exposed populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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