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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012 Dec;12(6):650-5. doi: 10.1007/s11882-012-0297-9.

A new model for environmental assessment and exposure reduction.

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  • 1Center for Environmental Health, Section of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA. ceciaccio@cmh.edu

Abstract

Environmental assessment and exposure reduction are a set of diagnostic and treatment techniques that work in tandem with the traditional medical approach by reducing a patient's exposure to adverse environmental conditions as part of medical care. Assessment involves identifying the specific exposures to which a patient is sensitive and locating the corresponding contaminants in the patient's environment. This provides a more complete diagnostic evaluation of a patient's problem than could be obtained merely by examining the patient alone. Exposure reduction involves reducing the identified triggers to levels that are below thresholds that are associated with increased risk of sensitization and disease morbidity. Assessment of an environment for contaminants focuses on a chain of factors that include contaminant sources such as cockroaches, rodents, dust mites and fungi that excrete contaminants into an environment, facilitative factors such as moisture, food, water and shelter that help sources to thrive, and reservoirs where contaminants can accumulate prior to subsequent transport to occupants. By using this model to guide environmental assessments and their corresponding interventions, the root cause of health problems can be addressed, leading to improved quality of life for patients and reduced need for chronic medications.

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