Aeroallergens in animal laboratories: Exploring innovative occupational exposure control measures using advanced hydrated photo catalytic oxidation technology
Revanna, Chandini Chandrashekara
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Aeroallergens in animal laboratories have been associated with allergy asthma exacerbations. We identified and quantified aeroallergens in animal laboratories and also evaluated the efficiency of Advanced Hydrated Photo Catalytic Oxidation (AHPCO) technology as an additional occupational exposure control measure in controlling the following aeroallergens: dander, fibers, bacteria, fungal spores, and particulate matter (PM) of 0.3 µm, 0.5 µm, 1.0 µm, 2.5 µm, 5.0 µm, 10.0 µm. The efficiency of control was analyzed by periodically sampling and observing aeroallergen distribution and decay as a function of time. I performed air sampling in two types of animal laboratories (mice laboratories and a quail laboratory) and compared the air sample results before and after the implementation of AHPCO technology using an Air-O-Cell sampler, an Andersen sampler, and a Lighthouse particle counter. Further, an accredited laboratory, Sanair (EMPAT # 162952), was used for microscopic assessment of dander, fibers, bacteria, and fungal spore concentrations in the animal laboratory both before and after using the AHPCO technology. Collaborators at West Texas A & M University also assisted in microscopic identification of aeroallergens. In the mice laboratories, the following aeroallergens were enumerated: dander, Cladosporium, Bipolaris/Drechslera, Alternaria, Ascospores, Smuts/Myxomycetes, Basidiospores, fibers, and particulate matter. We observed a steady decay in dander particle concentration sampled during periodic intervals. The dander concentration before intervention was 2,800 Counts/M3. Continuous use of AHPCO technology for 24 weeks resulted in a statistically significant dander concentration reduction (p = 0.0006) to 1,013 Counts/M3. In the quail laboratory, the following aeroallergens were enumerated: Alternaria, Cladosporium, Smuts/Myxomycetes, Bacillus, Staphylococcus, dander, fibers, mycelial fragments, and particulate matter. We observed a statistically significant increase in concentration of particulate matter in a laboratory occupied by quail when compared to an empty quail laboratory. In the mice laboratory equipped with individually vented cages for source control, there was a statistically significant increase in the mean concentration of particulate matter in mice occupied laboratory when compared to an empty mice laboratory for the following particle sizes: 0.3 µm (p = 0.027), 1.0 µm (p = 0.26), 2.5 µm (p = 0.000), and 10.0 µm (p = 0.006). Pre AHPCO and post AHPCO samples were used to examine the effect of AHPCO technology on the particulate matter concentration distribution. After continuous use of AHPCO technology for eight weeks, a statistically significant reduction in mean concentrations were found for the following particle sizes: 0.5 µm (p = 0.001), 1.0 µm (p = 0.001), 2.5 µm (p = 0.001), and 5.0 µm (p = 0.032). Air sample results show a significant reduction in some aeroallergens with the use of AHPCO technology in the mice laboratories. As an additional layer of protection, AHPCO technology can be used for reducing airborne dander concentration and as an additional support to control occupational exposures to airborne dander, some fungal spores, and some bacteria in animal laboratories. In the quail laboratory, we observed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) increase in particulate matter (0.3 µm, 0.5 µm, 1.0 µm, 2.5 µm, 5.0 µm, and 10.0 µm) concentrations in quail occupied lab when compared to an empty lab. Interestingly, the particulate matter concentration was not reduced by implementing AHPCO technology in quail laboratory as the population increased with the addition of quail offspring in the research. Scenarios for further study include particulate matter distribution in the lab without any intervention, and the composition of particulate matter in these laboratories.Embargo status: Restricted to TTU community only. To view, login with your eRaider (top right). Others may request access exception by clicking on the PDF link to the left.