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, 29 (6): 1005-1017
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 p1 and Der f1, endotoxins, and β-(1 → 3)-d-glucans. In all sample locations combined, Der p1 or Der f1 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 < .01) and all samples combined (GM = 3.60 vs 1.29 EU/mg, P = .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 < .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.

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