Are cats and dogs the major source of endotoxin in homes?


UNLABELLED Previous studies have suggested that exposure to cats and dogs during early childhood reduces the risk of allergic disease, possibly by increasing home endotoxin exposure. This study asked the question of whether cats and dogs are the dominant influence on dust endotoxin concentrations in homes after considering other variables reportedly associated with endotoxin. The presence of cats or dogs in homes, household and home characteristics, and dust endotoxin concentrations from 5 locations were assessed in 966 urban and suburban homes. Whether considered together as pets or as cats and dogs separately, the presence of cats and dogs significantly contributed to living room and bedroom floor endotoxin concentrations, but not to bed endotoxin concentrations. However, the two variables consistently related to endotoxin in all home sites were the home occupant density (occupants/room) and cleanliness of the home. Our data suggest that reducing occupant density and improving home cleanliness would reduce home endotoxin concentrations more than removing pet cats or dogs from the home. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS Many studies have shown that early childhood exposure to indoor cats or dogs is associated with a reduced risk of later allergic disease and asthma. An important question is whether alteration in allergic risk associated with cat and dog exposure results from increased endotoxin exposure or from some other associated exposure. Our findings show that cats and dogs are not the dominant source of endotoxin in homes; rather, the density of human occupation and poor cleaning contribute more consistently to higher home endotoxin concentrations especially in the beds.

DOI: 10.1111/ina.12016

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@article{Ownby2013AreCA, title={Are cats and dogs the major source of endotoxin in homes?}, author={Dennis R Ownby and Edward L . Peterson and Ganesa Rebecca Wegienka and Kimberly J Woodcroft and Ceri Nicholas and Edward M. Zoratti and Christine C. Johnson}, journal={Indoor air}, year={2013}, volume={23 3}, pages={219-26} }