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Your Environment. Your Health.

Measuring Cockroach Allergen in the Air

Steven N. Chillrud, Ph.D., and Patrick L. Kinney, Sc.D.
Columbia University
NIEHS Grant P30ES009089


NIEHS grantees have developed a new sampling and analysis system for measuring exposure to indoor cockroach allergens. Indoor allergens are one factor that can increase risk for asthma development or exacerbation.


Cockroach allergen exposure is usually assessed by collecting and analyzing settled dust, but this method might not provide accurate measurements of inhaled allergens. To measure airborne cockroach allergen, the researchers developed a technique that involves collecting a seven-day integrated total suspended particulate sample at approximately 10 to 15 liters per minute. They used the technique to collect airborne particle samples in 19 New York City apartments that were home to an asthmatic child who was allergic to cockroach allergen. The new method detected allergen in 87 and 93 percent of air samples in the bedroom and kitchen, respectively, where cockroach allergen was present in settled dust.


Sensitive and quantitative measurements of airborne cockroach allergen could reveal more about allergen aerodynamics in the homes of children with asthma.


Citation: Esposito WA, Chew GL, Correa JC, Chillrud SN, Miller RL, Kinney PL. 2011. Quantitative measurement of airborne cockroach allergen in New York City apartments. Indoor Air 21(6):512-520.

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