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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Feb;163(2):322-8.

House dust endotoxin and wheeze in the first year of life.

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Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


We examined endotoxin exposure and wheezing episodes during the first year of life in a birth cohort of 499 infants with one or both parents having a history of asthma or allergy. We measured endotoxin in settled dust from the baby's bed, bedroom floor, family room, and kitchen floor within the first 3 mo after birth. The primary outcomes were any wheeze (versus no wheeze), and repeated wheeze (versus one or no report of wheeze). We found a significant univariate association of elevated endotoxin (> or = 100 EU/ mg) in family room dust with increased risk of any wheeze (Relative Risk = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.03-1.62). The association was not confounded by cockroach allergen, lower respiratory illness (croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia), smoking during pregnancy, lower birth weight, maternal asthma, presence of dog, and race/ethnicity in a multivariate model; the multivariate relative risk (RR = 1.33) was marginally significant (95% CI: 1.00-1.76, p < 0.05). In a multivariate model, controlling for the above covariates, elevated endotoxin in family room dust was significantly associated with increased risk (RR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.03-2.38) of repeated wheeze. These results suggest that home endotoxin exposure may independently increase risk of any wheeze and repeated wheeze during the first year of life for children with a familial predisposition to asthma or allergy.

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