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Bedroom Dust Contains Unexpectedly High Levels of Allergens, Could Trigger Asthma

pile of dust on the floor being swept by a push broom

Researchers from NIEHS and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that indoor dust samples collected from randomly selected U.S. bedrooms contain unexpectedly high levels of multiple allergens that could pose a significant risk for the development of allergic diseases and asthma.  For example, in 2000, researchers announced that they found more than 45 percent of U.S. homes have bedding with dust mite allergen concentrations associated with the development of allergies.

Tags: Urban Development, Housing, allergens, asthma, dust


Vojta PJ, Friedman W, Marker DA, Clickner R, Rogers JW, Viet SM, Muilenberg ML, Thorne PS, Arbes SJ Jr, Zeldin DC. 2002. First National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing: Survey design and methods for the allergen and endotoxin components. Environ Health Perspect 110(5):527-532. [Abstract]   [PDF]

Salo, PM, Yin M, Arbes SJ, Cohn RD, Sever M, Muilenberg M., Burge HA, London SJ, Zeldin DC. 2005. Dustborn Alternaria alternata antigens in U.S. homes: Results from the First National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing. J Allergy Clin Immunol 116(3):623-629. [Abstract]   [PDF]   [Full Text]  

Cohn RD, Arbes SJ Jr, Yin M, Jaramillo R, Zeldin DC. 2004. National prevalence and exposure risk for mouse allergen in US households. J Allergy Clin Immunol 113(6):1167-1171. [Abstract]   [Full Text]  

Arbes SJ, Friedman W, Vojta PJ, Muilenberg ML, Burge HA, Yin M, Cohn R, Zeldin DC. 2003. House dust mite allergen in U.S. beds: Results from the First National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing. J Allergy Clin Immunol 111(2):408-414. [Abstract]   [PDF]   [Full Text]  

Arbes SJ, Cohn R, Yin M, Muilenberg ML, Burge HA, Friedman W, Zeldin DC. 2004. Dog allergen (Can f 1) and cat allergen (Fel d 1) in U.S. Homes: Results from the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing. J Allergy Clin Immunol 114(1):111-117. [Abstract]   [Full Text]

Thorne PS, Kulhankova K, Yin M, Cohn R, Arbes S, Zeldin DC. 2005. Endotoxin exposure is a risk factor for asthma. The National Survey of Endotoxin in U.S. Housing. 2005. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 172:1371-1377. Abstract   [PDF]   [Full Text]

Cohn RD, Arbes SJ, Jaramillo R, Reid LH, Zeldin DC. 2006. National prevalence and exposure risk for cockroach allergen (Bla g 1) in U.S. households: Results from the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing. Environmental Health Perspectives 114:522-526. [Abstract]   [Full Text]

Salo PM, Arbes SJ, Sever M, Jaramillo R, Cohn RD, London SJ and Zeldin DC. 2004. Exposure to Alternaria alternata in U.S. homes is associated with asthma symptoms. J Allergy Clin Immunol 113(6):1167-1171.  Abstract   [PDF]   [Full Text]

Elliott L, Arbes SJ, Harvey ES, Lee RC, Salo PM, Cohn RD, London SJ, Zeldin DC. 2007. Dust weight and asthma prevalence in the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing (NSLAH). Environ Health Perspect 115(2):215-220. [Abstract]   [PDF]   [Full Text]

More Information:

NIEHS Programs:

News Releases:

  • 2010: NIH Institutes Renew Dedication to Asthma Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment
  • 2008: Increased Allergen Levels in Homes Linked to Asthma
  • 2007: New National Study Links Asthma to Allergies
  • 2002: Multiple Pets May Decrease Children's Allergy Risk
  • 2001: National Survey Examines Factors Related to High Levels of Dust Mite and Cockroach Allergen in Beds
  • 2000: First National Survey Shows Americans' Bedding Can Make Them Sick; Allergens the Culprit
  • 2000: In Test, Detroit Families with Asthmatic Children Get New Vacuum Cleaners, Mattress and Pillow Covers

Health Information:


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