Variation of biocontaminant levels within and between homes--the AIRALLERG study.J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2007 Mar; 17(2):134-40.JE
Few epidemiological studies report on reliability of exposure measurements even though this significantly influences the results of correlation and regression analysis often used in these studies. Poor reliability of exposure measurement reduces the ability to detect a true association between a certain component and health outcome variables. The aim of this study was to determine the ratio of the within-home and between-home components of variance of a number of biocontaminants measured in house dust in the framework of an international study conducted in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden (the AIRALLERG study). To this end, duplicate dust samples were collected from children's beds and from living room floors in over 100 homes. Samples were taken at the same point in time. Variables considered were the dust mass collected in mg/m2 and the concentrations of the house dust mite allergens Der p 1 and Der f 1, cat allergen Fel d 1, endotoxin, (1 --> 3)-beta-D-glucan and extracellular polysaccharides, all per gram of dust and per square meter of sampling surface. An analysis of variance showed that the within-home variance was small compared to the between-home variance for most variables (mostly less than half) with the exception of glucan on mattresses, when expressed in mug/g. Investigation of variation over time is needed for a more complete assessment of the use of these variables in epidemiological analyses of exposure-response relationships.