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Day Care Facilities are Significant Source of Indoor Allergens, Study Shows

July 2005

NIEHS researchers who analyzed data collected from 89 home day cares and child care centers in two North Carolina counties found detectable levels of allergens, including fungus, cats, cockroaches, dogs, dust mites, and mice. The levels mirrored the levels found in Southern homes.

The highest concentrations of allergens tended to be from cats, dogs and fungus in the day care settings as well as in Southern homes.

Sam Arbes, clinical research coordinator and lead author on the study, noted that, as shown in previous studies, dog and cat allergens were found in nearly all facilities, including those where no dog or cat was observed.

The three-prong data collection approach used in the study measured allergen levels in each facility; used a questionnaire to collect information from managers; and lastly, researchers determined which rooms the children spent most of their time and collected dust samples from those rooms. The study also found significant differences between carpeted and non-carpeted areas. The non-carpeted areas had lower concentrations of five of the allergens than did carpeted areas.

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