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Summary

A study was conducted to investigate the levels of house dust mite allergen Der p I in classroom floor dust from 49 schools with smooth (n= 18) or carpeted (n= 31) floors. Schools were located in the city of Rotterdam (n= 29) and in a number of small communities in the Province of Gelderland (n= 20). Data on building characteristics of the schools were obtained. Dust samples were analysed for Der p I content, the major allergen of the house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. The results showed that in schools with carpeted classroom floors, larger amounts of settled dust and higher Der p I levels either expressed as concentrations (in ng/g) or loadings (in ng/m2) were found than in schools with smooth classroom floors. However, the levels of Der p I were considerably lower than in dust collected from floors in homes. Although the Der p I levels were low, effects of several building characteristics on the levels were found. Age of the floor cover, the number of classrooms in the school and the presence of damp spots in the building were related to Der p I concentrations and loadings mainly on carpeted floors. Remarkably, schools in the rural area contained significantly more dust and Der p I than schools in the urban area. We conclude that dust from carpeted classroom floors contains more house dust mite allergen than dust from smooth classroom floors, but much less than dust from floors in homes.