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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1989 Sep;84(3):347-52.

Task-related variation in airborne concentrations of laboratory animal allergens: studies with Rat n I.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205.


To define airborne allergen exposure during various tasks with rats in a laboratory, concentrations of allergen Rat n I were measured by radioimmunoassay in extracts from filters in personal air sampling devices that were worn by laboratory workers while they were performing these tasks. The tasks included feeding, cage cleaning, handling, injection, surgery, and sacrifice. Median concentrations encountered during feeding or cleaning (21 ng/m3) and injection or handling (13 ng/m3) were higher than those associated with surgery or sacrifice (3.1 ng/m3; p less than 0.01). Area samples in animal-holding rooms contained 3.4 ng/m3 during animal handling and 2.3 ng/m3 at other times. Very low concentrations were found in air outside the handling room, in unused laboratories, or outside air. We concluded that certain tasks incur a higher risk of allergen exposure but that exposure may occur anywhere within an animal laboratory environment.

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