A number of methods are used to assess exposure to high-molecular weight allergens. In the occupational setting, airborne dust is often collected on filters using pumps, the filters are eluted and allergen content in the eluate analysed using immunoassays. Collecting inhalable dust using person-carried pumps may be considered the gold standard. Other allergen sampling methods are available. Recently, a method that collects nasally inhaled dust on adhesive surfaces within nasal samplers has been developed. Allergen content can be analysed in eluates using sensitive enzyme immunoassays, or allergen-bearing particles can be immunostained using antibodies, and studied under the microscope. Settling airborne dust can be collected in petri dishes, a cheap and simple method that has been utilised in large-scale exposure studies. Collection of reservoir dust from surfaces using vacuum cleaners with a dust collector is commonly used to measure pet or mite allergens in homes. The sampling
methods differ in properties and relevance to personal allergen exposure. Since methods for all steps from sampling to analysis differ between laboratories, determining occupational exposure limits for protein allergens is today unfeasible. A general standardisation of methods is needed.
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Journal of Environmental Monitoring
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