Recent work suggests that evaporative coolers increase the level and diversity of bioaerosols, but this association remains understudied in low-income homes. We conducted a cross-sectional study of metropolitan, low-income homes in Utah with evaporative coolers (n = 20) and central air conditioners (n = 28). Dust samples (N = 147) were collected from four locations in each home and analyzed for dust-mite allergens Der p1 and Der f1, endotoxins, and β-(1 → 3)-d-glucans. In all sample locations combined, Der p1 or Der f1 was significantly higher in evaporative cooler versus central air conditioning homes (OR = 2.29, 95% CI = 1.05-4.98). Endotoxin concentration was significantly higher in evaporative cooler versus central air conditioning homes in furniture (geometric mean (GM) = 8.05 vs 2.85 EU/mg, P < .01) and all samples combined (GM = 3.60 vs 1.29 EU/mg, P = .03). β-(1 → 3)-d-glucan concentration and surface loads were significantly higher in evaporative cooler versus central air conditioning homes in all four sample locations and all samples combined (P < .01). Our study suggests that low-income, evaporative cooled homes have higher levels of immunologically important bioaerosols than central air-conditioned homes in dry climates, warranting studies on health implications and other exposed populations.
Keywords: air conditioning; endotoxin; evaporative cooling; house dust-mite; hygiene hypothesis; β-(1 → 3)-d-glucans.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.