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Distribution of peanut allergen in the environment

  • Tamara T Perry
    Affiliations
    From athe Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md; and bINDOOR Biotechnologies, Charlottesville, Va, USA
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  • Mary Kay Conover-Walker
    Affiliations
    From athe Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md; and bINDOOR Biotechnologies, Charlottesville, Va, USA
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  • Anna Pomés
    Affiliations
    From athe Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md; and bINDOOR Biotechnologies, Charlottesville, Va, USA
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  • Martin D Chapman
    Affiliations
    From athe Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md; and bINDOOR Biotechnologies, Charlottesville, Va, USA
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  • Robert A Wood
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Robert A. Wood, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, 600 North Wolfe, CMSC 1102, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD 21287
    Affiliations
    From athe Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md; and bINDOOR Biotechnologies, Charlottesville, Va, USA
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Background

      Patients with peanut allergy can have serious reactions to very small quantities of peanut allergen and often go to extreme measures to avoid potential contact with this allergen.

      Objective

      The purpose of this study was to detect peanut allergen under various environmental conditons and examine the effectiveness of cleaning agents for allergen removal.

      Methods

      A monoclonal-based ELISA for Arachis hypogaea allergen 1 (Ara h 1; range of detection, 30-2000 ng/mL) was used to assess peanut contamination on cafeteria tables and other surfaces in schools, the presence of residual peanut protein after using various cleaning products on hands and tabletops, and airborne peanut allergen during the consumption of several forms of peanut.

      Results

      After hand washing with liquid soap, bar soap, or commercial wipes, Ara h 1 was undetectable. Plain water and antibacterial hand sanitizer left detectable Ara h 1 on 3 of 12 and 6 of 12 hands, respectively. Common household cleaning agents removed peanut allergen from tabletops, except dishwashing liquid, which left Ara h 1 on 4 of 12 tables. Of the 6 area preschools and schools evaluated, Ara h 1 was found on 1 of 13 water fountains, 0 of 22 desks, and 0 of 36 cafeteria tables. Airborne Ara h 1 was undetectable in simulated real-life situations when participants consumed peanut butter, shelled peanuts, and unshelled peanuts.

      Conclusion

      The major peanut allergen, Ara h 1, is relatively easily cleaned from hands and tabletops with common cleaning agents and does not appear to be widely distributed in preschools and schools. We were not able to detect airborne allergen in many simulated environments.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      Ara h 1 (Arachis hypogaea allergen 1)
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