Background: The impact of preschool environmental conditions on classroom aeroallergen concentrations is not fully understood. Objective: To examine the relationship between school environmental conditions and classroom aeroallergen concentrations in the Pulaski County Head Start (HS) Program. Methods: Thirty-three HS centers in Pulaski County, Arkansas, underwent a detailed environmental evaluation. Classroom settled dust samples were analyzed for the presence of common indoor allergens. Results: Classroom eating (70%), wall-to-wall carpeting (58%), and water damage (33%) were common. Median classroom allergen levels were as follows: dust mite (Der p 1 and Der f 1), 0.6 μg/g; Fel d 1, 0.4 μg/g; Can f 1, 1.7 μg/g; cockroach, below detection; Mus m 1, 0.18 μg/g; and mold spores, 17,800 CFU/g. Can f 1 and Mus m 1 allergens were detected in 100% of HS centers. Facilities with carpeting, increased humidity, and single-use facilities showed trends toward increased dust mite concentrations. Detectable cockroach allergen was more common in classrooms cleaned by teachers than by professional housekeepers. Conclusions: Aeroallergens were commonly detected in Pulaski County HS center classrooms, with dog and mouse allergens detected in 100% of centers. Median classroom allergen concentrations were low, and classroom characteristics were not strongly predictive of increased allergen exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine