Purpose of the Study. To characterize the distribution of dog (Can f 1), cat (Fel d 1), and mite (Der p 1 and Der f 1) allergens on hard surfaces in homes with and without pets and to evaluate the efficiency of removing allergen from hard surfaces by wiping with a dry dust cloth and by vacuum cleaning using the dust brush attachment.
Study Population. Dust samples were collected from 24 homes in Dayton, Ohio, that met the following criteria: having at least 1 area with a large amount of smooth, hard-surfaced wall; 2 hard surface floors in 2 separate rooms; sufficient hard furniture surfaces; and lack of cleaning of floors, furniture, and walls for 7 days.
Methods. Two adjacent 1-square meter areas of smooth flooring in 2 separate rooms and a wall were selected and marked out for dust sampling. At each sampling area, half of the area was dusted by wiping with a Pledge Grab-It (SC Johnson, Racine, WI) dust cloth. The adjacent area was then dusted with a vacuum cleaner using the dust brush attachment. The concentrations of Der f 1, Der p 1, Fel d 1, and Can f 1 allergens were determined from each sample.
Results. Dust from hard surfaces and carpets in homes with cats had significantly (P < .05) more Fel d 1 than homes without cats. This is in contrast to the mean levels of Can f 1 on walls and furniture in homes without dogs, which was not significantly less (P < .05) than for homes with dogs. The levels of mite allergen detected on hard surfaces was very low, with 16, 21, and 17 of the 24 homes having no detectable Der f 1 or Der p 1 on smooth floors, walls, and furniture respectively. The mean total quantity of allergen collected by the Grab-It dust cloths was 1.05 to 3.4 times greater than the brush-vacuuming method.
Conclusions. As expected, significantly greater amounts of Fel d 1 were found in individual homes with cats compared with those without cats. A key finding in this study, however, was that detectable levels of dog allergen were present in all but one of the homes without dogs. Sixty-seven percent of homes without cats had measurable Fel d 1 levels present as well. This is postulated to be secondary to passive transfer of allergens from clothing, previous presence of a pet, or visitation by pets. From the data presented, carpeting is the major reservoir for pet allergen. Finally, dusting with a dust cloth was found to be a more effective method of removing allergen from hard surfaces than vacuum cleaning using a dust brush attachment.
Reviewers’ Comments. This article stresses the need for environmental control measures not only in homes with pets, but also in those without. We often must remind our patients, even those that live without pets, to clean their surroundings in an effective manner. This study also demonstrates that it is important to include cleaning walls, furniture, and smooth floors along with carpeting to reduce exposure to indoor allergens. This should greatly improve the quality of life for those that suffer from allergic disease.
- Copyright © 2002 by the American Academy of Pediatrics