Comparison of Airborne Allergen Levels Collected On Filters with Dust Borne Allergen Levels Collected by Vacuum

Freddy Pacheco, Ryan Allenbrand, Jay M. Portnoy, Charles S. Barnes



Airborne allergen exposure versus dust-borne allergen exposure is of considerable interest to allergists. To examine the relationship of allergen levels collected from high efficiency HVAC filters with allergen levels in house dust we conducted the following study.


Subject homes were a subset of homes enrolled in the Kansas City Safe and Healthy Homes Project. Homes were provided with vacuum cleaners and AllergyZone FQT12 one-inch disposable furnace filters with high-efficiency media. Approximately 3 months later, floor dust was collected from vacuum units and furnace filters were collected from the HVAC system. Filters were vacuumed to collect dust and all dust samples were sieved and extracted in PBS. Levels of Fel d1, Can f1, Mus m1, Der f1, Der p1 and Bla g2 were evaluated using MAB based immunoassays from indoor Biotechnologies. Levels of Fungal antigens were evaluated by polyclonal assays using materials from Greer Laboratories.


Comparison data was obtained for 29 homes. Average allergen levels for vacuumed dust ranged from 1.96ug/g (Can f1) to 0.26ug/g (Mus m1) and for filter dust from 11.14ug/g (Fel d1) to 0.23ug/g (Mouse). Correlations between vacuumed dust and filter dust ranged from positive 0.86 (Bla g2) to negative .19 (Feld1). For the Cat allergen, furnace filter dust was significantly higher than the vacuum dust and for Dust mite allergen vacuumed dust contained significantly more allergen than filter dust. For fungal antigens Alternaria, Aspergillus and Cladosporium levels in filter dust were significantly higher than in floor dust.


Allergens partition into differing dust borne and airborne exposures.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Vol. 131, Issue 2, AB77

abstract No: 

    • AAAAI 2013 (69th)