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Major mite allergen Der f 1 concentration is reduced in buildings with improved energy performance.
BACKGROUND: Environmental conditions play a crucial role in mite growth, and optimal environmental control is key in the prevention of airway inflammation in chronic allergic rhinoconjunctivitis or asthma. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship between building energy performance and indoor mite allergen concentration in a cross-sectional study. METHODS: Major allergen concentration (Der f 1, Der p 1, mite group 2, Fel d 1 and Bla g 2) was determined by quantitative dot blot analysis from mattress and carpet dust samples in five buildings designed for low energy use (LEB) and in six control buildings (CB). Inhabitants had received 4 weeks prior to mite measurement a personal validated questionnaire related to the perceived state of health and comfort of living. RESULTS: Cumulative mite allergen concentration (with Der f 1 as the major contributor) was significantly lower in LEB as compared with CB both in mattresses and in carpets. In contrast, the two categories of buildings did not differ in Bla g 2 and Fel d 1 concentration, in the amount of dust and airborne mould collected. Whereas temperature was higher in LEB, relative humidity was significantly lower than in CB. Perceived overall comfort was better in LEB. CONCLUSIONS: Major mite allergen Der f 1 preferentially accumulates in buildings not specifically designed for low energy use, reaching levels at risk for sensitization. We hypothesize that controlled mechanical ventilation present in all audited LEB may favour lower air humidity and hence lower mite growth and allergen concentration, while preserving optimal perceived comfort.
Allergen, Building, Energy Saving Measures, Mite, Ventilation, House-Dust-Mite, High-Altitude, Asthma, Exposure, Avoidance, Children, Sensitization, Childhood, Health, Homes
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