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Allergy. 2002 Feb;57(2):137-42.

Predictors of high house dust mite allergen concentrations in residential homes in Sydney.

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  • 1Clinical Epidemiology Unit, The Children's Hospital, Westmead, Australia.



In parts of coastal Australia, house dust mite allergen concentrations in homes are often very high with at least 80% of homes in Sydney exceeding concentrations of 10 microg of allergen per gram of fine dust. In this study, we report the relation between characteristics of the home environment and house dust mite allergen concentrations at three sites in Sydney homes.


A total of 616 families were recruited as part of the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS). Information about the home environment and structural aspects of the home was collected using a questionnaire. Samples of dust were collected from the parents' bed, the bedroom floor and the living room floor and assayed for Der p 1.


A total of 68% of participants' beds, 65% of bedroom floors and 56% of living room floors had Der p 1 concentrations above 10 microg/g, with the highest concentrations of allergen in the bed. The most significant predictor of high Der p 1 concentrations in the bed and floors was the age of the home. We also found that beds with mattresses over two years old and with woollen or synthetic blankets or synthetic quilts had higher Der p 1 concentrations. Carpeted floors had higher Der p 1 concentrations than hard floors.


The finding that high Der p 1 allergen concentrations in homes with carpets and older mattresses indicates that control strategies directed at these sources are likely to be effective in reducing exposure. Alternatives such as the use of house dust mite impermeable mattress encasings on older mattresses may also be effective in reducing exposure.

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