Within-home versus between-home variability of house dust endotoxin in a birth cohort

Publisher:
Environmental Health Information Service
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Environmental Health Perspectives, 2005, 113 (11), pp. 1516 - 1521
Issue Date:
2005-01
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Endotoxin exposure has been proposed as an environmental determinant of allergen responses in children. To better understand the implications of using a single measurement of house dust endotoxin to characterize exposure in the first year of life, we evaluated room-specific within-home and between-home variability in dust endotoxin obtained from 470 households in Boston, Massachusetts. Homes were sampled up to two times over 511 months. We analyzed 1,287 dust samples from the kitchen, family room, and babys bedroom for endotoxin. We fit a mixed-effects model to estimate mean levels and the variation of endotoxin between homes, between rooms, and between sampling times. Endotoxin ranged from 2 to 1,945 units per milligram of dust. Levels were highest during summer and lowest in the winter. Mean endotoxin levels varied significantly from room to room. Cross-sectionally, endotoxin was moderately correlated between family room and bedroom floor (r = 0.30), between family room and kitchen (r = 0.32), and between kitchen and bedroom (r = 0.42). Adjusting for season, the correlation of endotoxin levels within homes over time was 0.65 for both the bedroom and kitchen and 0.54 for the family room. The temporal within-home variance of endotoxin was lowest for bedroom floor samples and highest for kitchen samples. Between-home variance was lowest in the family room and highest for kitchen samples. Adjusting for season, within-home variation was less than between-home variation for all three rooms. These results suggest that room-to-room and home-to-home differences in endotoxin influence the total variability more than factors affecting endotoxin levels within a room over time.
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