This small study investigated house dust mite (HDM) allergen levels in cars and their owners’ homes in north-east Scotland. Dust samples from twelve households and cars were collected in a standardised manner. The dust samples were extracted and measured for the Dermatophagoides group 2 allergens (Der p 2 and Der f 2) and total soluble protein. Allergen levels at homes tended to be higher than in the cars, but not significantly. However, they significantly correlated with paired car dust samples expressed either per unit weight of dust or soluble protein (rho=0.657; p=0.02 and 0.769; p=0.003, respectively). This points to house-to-car allergen transfer, with the car allergen levels largely reflecting levels in the owner’s home. Car HDM allergen levels were lower than those reported in Brazil and the USA. Twenty-five percent of the houses and none of the cars had allergen levels in dust greater than 2000 ng g-1. This value is often quoted as a threshold for the risk of sensitisation, although a number of studies report increased risk of sensitisation at lower levels. This small study does not allow for characterisation of the distribution of HDM allergen in vehicles in this geographic area, or of the likely levels in other warmer and more humid areas of the UK. Cars and other vehicles are an under-investigated micro-environment for exposure to allergenic material.
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