Environmental Allergens and Irritants in Schools: A Focus on Asthma


  • This research was funded by the Partners in School Asthma Management Program, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Contract No. NO1-HR-56079


ABSTRACT: As part of the Partners in School Asthma Management Program, environmental data were collected from 385 rooms in 60 elementary schools in southeast Texas, using an Environmental Observation Checklist and a Q-TRAK Indoor Air Quality Monitor. Dust samples for allergen analysis were collected from floors, carpets, and area rugs in 80 classrooms in a subset of 20 schools. CO2 levels >1,000 ppm were found in 86% of rooms; 69% had indoor humidity above recommended levels. Der p I dust mite allergen levels >2,000 ng/g were present in 20% of rooms, but only 2.5% of rooms had Der f I mite allergen levels exceeding recommended tolerances. Detectable levels of cockroach allergen (Bla g II) were found in all schools (median 5.5 ng/g), with 10% of rooms over the recommended threshold. Almost two-thirds of classrooms had mold spore counts >10,000 col/g (median, 14,400 col/g; range, 2,000 – 52,000 col/g).