181695 Mitigation of asthma triggers in indoor air: An inter-comparison of ventilation/filtration systems for residences

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

David MacIntosh , Advanced Analytics, Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc., Needham, MA
Theodore A. Myatt, ScD , Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., Needham, MA
Reducing exposure to environmental agents indoors shown to increase asthma symptoms or lead to asthma exacerbations is an important component of a strategy to manage asthma for individuals. Numerous investigations have demonstrated that portable air cleaning devices can reduce concentrations of asthma triggers in indoor air however their benefits for breathing problems have not always been reproducible. The potential exposure benefits of whole house high efficiency air (WHHE) cleaners for sensitive subpopulations have yet to be evaluated. We used a validated indoor air quality modeling system (CONTAM) developed by NIST to examine peak and time-integrated concentrations of various agents present in indoor air over a year as a function of natural ventilation, portable air cleaners, and forced air ventilation equipped with conventional and high efficiency filtration systems. Based on the modeling results, forced air systems with high efficiency filtration are expected to provide the best control of the asthma triggers: 30-55% lower cat allergen levels, 90-99% lower risk of respiratory infection, 90-98% lower ETS levels, and 50-75% lower fungal spore levels compared to control achieved by the other ventilation/filtration systems. The modeling results also showed that the potential efficacy of avoidance strategies recommended for asthmatics by the National Institutes of Health may be enhanced by the use of certain indoor air cleaning systems. These findings are useful for evaluating potential benefits of WHHE filtration systems for controlling exposure to asthma triggers indoors and for the design of trials of environmental interventions intended to evaluate their utility in practice.

Learning Objectives:
To provide physicians and others that participate in asthma management plans with information about the relative efficacy of various approaches for mitigating airborne cat allergen, respiratory virus, ETS, and fungal spores. To provide researchers interested in the efficacy of environmental interventions regarding asthma management with preliminary information useful for generating hypotheses and designing studies.

Keywords: Indoor Environment, Asthma

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the Principal Investigator on this study that builds upon prior measurement and analysis work conducted under my direction that has been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Other relevant research that I have completed as a tenured professor and practitioner of environmental health includes population-based modeling and measurement studies of human exposure to volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, pesticides, and microbiological agents. In addition, I am a frequent author of environmental exposure and risk studies published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and presented at conferences of professional societies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.