The airborne concentration of major house dust mite antigen Der p1 was measured by low volume sampling (2 litres/min) in the homes of 68 allergic, asthmatic children. The presence of detectable airborne antigen was strongly associated with sensitivity to the mite, whereas there was no significant relation between sensitivity and the previously recommended threshold level of 2 micrograms Der p1 per g carpet dust. There was a significant association with lower threshold levels in carpet dust (0.5 microgram/g) but at no level was the association as strong as that with air measurements. Concentrations of airborne antigen were higher in rooms with wool carpets than in those with synthetic carpets or hard floors, but there was no significant difference between the dust levels of Der p1 in the two carpet types. Air sampling is a more appropriate method of assessing antigen exposure than dust sampling for asthmatic patients.