National Allergen Survey
American Allergy Supply recommends you see the ABC Video!
Diane Sawyer Good Morning
this ABC Video on Dust Mites and Your Allergy!
Most Important thing you can do for your Dust Mite Allergies! Allergists recommend
mattress, box springs, and pillow covers because they trap dust mites where they breed.
Sick In Bed When you go to
sleep every night, you may be climbing into a bed full of allergens. Good Morning
America's Diane Sawyer talks to Dr. Darryl Zeldin, the senior author of a recent national
study on how your bedding may actually make you sick.
National Allergen Survey Shows Dust Mites in Bedding Can Trigger Allergies in Many
|By Shawna Vogel Bring a Tissue to Bed
Survey Shows Dust Mites in Bedding Can Trigger
Allergies in Many Homes
Tiny dust mites and their droppings lurk
inside the beds of some 44 million American homes, a new $1 million survey finds.
S T O N, May 9 Going to bed may make you sneeze.
The beds in nearly half of American homes are loaded with allergy
triggers, according to a new three-year, $1 million survey performed by the federal
National Institute of Environmental Health in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
We were surprised by the prevalence and levels of dust mite
allergens we found, says Patrick Vojte, the survey leader.
Vojte will present the results of his study at the American Lung
Association/American Thoracic Society Convention being held in Toronto.
Dust mite allergens basically the droppings of tiny
spider-like mites that live in our dust are a major cause of allergies and can
exacerbate asthma symptoms in people who are sensitive to them.
Dust mites like warm, moist environments. They thrive in carpets, curtains, furniture and
particularly bedding, which is often filled with the dead skin cells that the mites eat.
Vojte and his colleagues at the Institute wanted to know just how
many American homes are plagued with dust mite allergens. Armed with compact vacuum
cleaners fitted with test tubes, the team of researchers and their technicians sucked dust
from the pillows, sheets, mattresses and floors in 831 homes in 75 different areas across
the U.S. Previous studies, says Vojte, have measured the allergens only in select regions
of the country.
Based on an analysis of the dust-filled test tubes, Vojte
estimates that over 45 percent of the U.S. housing stock, or approximately 44 million
homes, have bedding with enough dust mite allergens to cause allergies.
In 23 percent of U.S. homes, allergen concentrations were five
times higher, or 10 micrograms per gram of dust, a level, Vojte says, that has been
associated with increasing severity of asthma symptoms in people who are allergic to dust
In the future, Vojte plans to study just what types of homes and
homeowners have the greatest concentrations of dust mite allergens.
Other studies have shown that these allergens tend to reach their
highest household levels in humid climates, says Ginger Chew, an associate research
scientist at the Columbia School of Public Health in New York City. Chew and colleagues
also showed in a recent study that suburban homes tend to have more dust mite allergens
than apartments. The houses in the suburbs had better control over their heating, so
they were better at maintaining an environment comfortable for people and for dust
mites, she says.
|Fighting the Mite
Allergy specialists have a few household tips for people who are allergic to dust mites.
First and foremost is installation of nonpermeable allergen
proof covers on mattresses and pillows, says Vojte. The price to outfit a
full- sized bed is $50 to $60, and they have been shown to be very effective when combined
with weekly, thorough washing of bedding.
Other recommendations from the environmental health institute
include replacing carpeting with bare floors, dusting with a damp mop or rag and weekly
vacuuming with a bag designed to reduce allergens.
And if youre interested in finding out just how bad the
mite population is in your own bed, Vojte says, without mentioning names, there is a
company working on a home test.
Tuesday May 9th, 2000, 8:15am EDT
NIEHS PR #00-08
News Office - (919) 541-3345
Bill Grigg - (301) 496-3511
First National Allergen Survey Shows Americans' Bedding
Can Make Them Sick; Allergens the Culprit
Researchers armed with vacuum cleaners collected
samples of the dust in American bedding, and though they found no "lions, tigers or
bears," they found plenty of cause for concern in terms of dust mite and cockroach
allergens at levels associated with asthma and allergies.
Called The First National Allergen Survey, the
study was led by scientists at the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, and done in
collaboration with investigators at the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development; Harvard
University, and Westat, Inc. Early
results of the study will be presented at the 96th
International Conference of the American Lung Association/American Thoracic Society
and their Canadian counterparts, Wednesday, May 10, at the Toronto Convention Center (Area
D, Exhibit Hall, South Building, Level 800). Authors will be available to discuss the
study between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The study was done in light of mounting evidence
that exposure to indoor allergens from dust mites and cockroaches is a risk factor for the
development of allergic diseases and asthma. Indoor dust from five or six different sites
in each of 831 homes from 75 different areas across the U.S. was collected, along with
demographic and health information of home occupants. The 75 areas were selected as
representative of the U.S. with respect to region, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and
Survey results suggest that over 45 percent of the
U.S. housing stock, or approximately 44 million homes have bedding with dust mite allergen
concentrations that exceed 2 micrograms per gram of dust, a level that has been associated
with the development of allergies. Of these, over 23 percent of U.S. homes or about 22
million dwellings, are estimated to have bedding with dust mite allergen concentrations
that exceed 10 micrograms per gram dust, a level associated with the trigger of asthma
symptoms in asthmatics who are allergic to these allergens.
Further, results indicate that 17 percent of
household occupants reported problems with cockroach infestations in the year preceding
the study. Cockroach allergen is estimated present at detectable levels in bedding in over
6 percent of all U.S. homes, representing almost 6 million households. The number of homes
with detectable cockroach allergen is expected to be much higher since the kitchen is
typically the most common site of cockroach activity. Data on kitchen levels of cockroach
allergen will become available next year.
"This study suggests that a large number of
U.S. homes contain dust mite allergen levels which pose a significant risk for the
development of allergies and asthma," Patrick Vojta, Ph.D., of NIEHS, said. "There are housekeeping
practices as well as allergen proof bedding covers that can be used to reduce exposures to
high levels of allergens. For people who are not allergic to these allergens,
steps to reduce exposure may reduce the chance of developing allergies and asthma. For
those who are already allergic and/or asthmatic, steps to reduce exposure may decrease the
frequency and severity of the symptoms of these diseases."
The study was selected as one of only 25, out of
the approximately 5,000 presented, to be highlighted for special media attention by
organizers of the ALA/ATS meeting.
Dr. Vojta will be available at NIEHS through May
5, at (919) 541-0981, or messages may be left for him at his Toronto hotel May 6-10, (416)
924-0611, or FAX (416) 924-1413. He will be back in his office at NIEHS on May 11.
The URL for this press release is: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/oc/news/bedding.htm
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The URL for this press release is: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/oc/news/bedding.htm
First National Allergen
Survey Shows Americans' Bedding Can Make Them Sick; Allergens the Culprit
May 11, 2000
Bedding and asthma, allergies:
Sheets, pillows and blankets in nearly half of American homes contain enough allergens
from dust mites to trigger asthma and serious allergies, a new study indicates.
Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) visited
more than 800 homes nationwide and collected indoor dust samples by vacuuming the bedding.
They found that proteins from dust mites tiny arachnids that feed on human skin
flakes were present in quantities sufficient to cause allergies in more than 45
percent of the residences surveyed. The researchers say that number translates to 44
million homes nationwide. The level of dust mite allergens is high enough to trigger
asthma attacks in an estimated 23 percent of American homes about 22 million. The
homes surveyed were representative of the U.S. with respect to region, ethnicity,
socioeconomic status and housing characteristics. In addition, 17 percent of those
surveyed said they had had cockroaches in their home within the previous year. The
researchers estimate that cockroach allergen is "present at detectable levels in
bedding in more than 6 percent of all U.S. homes, representing nearly 6 million
households." A more comprehensive NIEHS report on cockroach infestation levels is
expected to be released in 2001. Darryl Zeldin, M.D., head of clinical studies at NIEHS,
says the high numbers surprised researchers. "Our beds are teeming with dust mite
allergens," says Dr. Zeldin. The American Lung Association recommends covering
mattresses and box springs with mite-proof encasings to reduce exposure. In addition,
weekly laundering of pillows and bedding in hot (130 degrees F) water can help.