Influence of mattress characteristics on house dust mite allergen concentration


Lisette van den Bemt, Department of General Practice, Route 117, University Medical Centre Radboud, PO Box 9101 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Background Exposure to a high level of house dust mite allergens (HDMAs) is considered as a risk factor for HDM sensitization and development of asthma in genetically disposed people. Mattresses are one of the most important sources of HDMA in people's living environment.

Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between mattress characteristics and HDMA concentrations on mattresses.

Methods Dust samples of mattress surfaces were taken to evaluate the level of Der p 1 allergen. All participants filled in a questionnaire about the type of mattress, the type of covering (upper layer) of the mattress, dwelling characteristics and cleaning habits. Humidity and temperature of the bedroom were measured at the time of dust sampling.

Results One hundred and sixty-eight questionnaires were filled in. Synthetic upper layer of the mattress was associated with a higher level of Der p 1 compared with cotton upper layer (2.6 vs. 0.8 μg/g Der p 1). Moreover, higher relative humidity (RH) was associated with significant higher concentrations and density of Der p 1.

Conclusions Two factors were associated with lower levels of Der p 1 found on mattresses, namely: a cotton upper layer of the mattress compared with a layer of synthetic material and lower RH at the time of sampling. As far as we know, the association between type of upper layer and concentration of Der p 1 has not been described before and could lead to the formulation of practical advices in order to reduce HDMA concentrations on mattresses.