Background: A diagnosis of peanut allergy has a major impact on an individual's quality of life. Exposure to even small amounts of peanut can trigger serious reactions. Common cleaning agents can easily remove peanut allergen from surfaces such as table tops. Parents of children with peanut allergy frequently ask if peanut allergen can persist on surfaces if they have not been cleaned.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the persistence of peanut allergen on a typical table surface over time.
Methods: Five mL of peanut butter was evenly smeared on a 12 inch by 12 inch (30.5 by 30.5 cm) square on a nonporous (laminated plastic) table surface. Five squares were prepared in the same manner. The table was kept in a regular hospital office at room temperature and ambient lighting. No cleaning occurred for 110 days. Samples were taken at regular intervals from different areas each time. A monoclonal-based ELISA for arachis hypogaea allergen 1 (Ara h 1), range of detection 1.95-2000 ng/mL, was used to assess peanut allergen on the table surface.
Results: At baseline, there was no detectable Ara h 1 allergen. Immediately post application and for 110 days of collecting, detectable Ara h 1 was found each time a sample was taken. There was no obvious allergen degradation over time. Active cleaning of the contaminated surface with a commercial cleaning wipe resulted in no detectable Ara h 1 allergen.
Conclusions: Peanut allergen is very robust. Detectable Ara h 1 was present on the table surface for 110 days. Active cleaning of peanut contaminated surfaces easily removed peanut residue and allergen. Regular cleaning of surfaces before and after eating should be reinforced as a safety measure for all individuals with peanut allergy.