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Böhlandt, A.; Schierl, R.; Heizinger, J.; Dietrich-Gümperlein, G.; Zahradnik, E.; Bruckmaier, L.; Sültz, J.; Raulf, M. and Nowak, Dennis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7871-8686 (2016): Cow hair allergen concentrations in dairy farms with automatic and conventional milking systems: From stable to bedroom. In: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol. 219, No. 1: pp. 79-87

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Bovine hair and dander are considered to be a notable risk factor for sensitization and allergic symptoms in occupationally exposed cattle farmers due to various IgE binding proteins. Farmers are suspected not only to be exposed during their work inside the stables but also inside their homes as allergens could be transferred via hair and clothes resulting in continued bovine allergen exposure in private areas. In recent years a new sensitive sandwich ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) test has been developed to measure the cow hair allergen (CHA) concentration in dust. The aim of the present study was to determine the CHA concentration in airborne and settled dust samples in stables and private rooms of dairy cattle farms with automatic milking systems (AM) and conventional milking systems (CM), also with respect to questionnaire data on farming characteristics. For this purpose different sampling techniques were applied, and results and practicability of the techniques were compared. Dust sampling was performed in the stable, computer room (only AM), changing room, living room and bedroom (mattress) of 12 dairy farms with automatic milking systems (AM group) and eight dairy farms with conventional milking systems (CM group). Altogether, 90 samples were taken by ALK filter dust collectors from all locations, while 32 samples were collected by an ion charging device (ICD) and 24 samples by an electronic dust fall collector (EDC) in computer rooms (AM) and/or changing and living rooms (not stables). The dust samples were extracted and analyzed for CHA content with a sandwich ELISA. At all investigated locations, CHA concentrations were above the limit of detection (LOD) of 0.1 ng/ml dust extract. The median CHA concentrations in dust collected by ALK filters ranged from 63 to 7154 mu g/g dust in AM farms and from 121 to 5627 mu g/g dust in CM farms with a steep concentration gradient from stables to bedrooms. ICD sampling revealed median CHA contents of 112 mu g/g airborne dust in the computer rooms of the AM farms and median CHA loads of 5.6 mu g/g (AM farms) and 19.8 mu g/g (CM farms) in the living rooms. Passive dust sampling by EDC was performed only at two locations in the AM group resulting in median CHA values of 116 mu g/m(2) (computer room) and 55.0 mu g/m(2) (changing room). Except for the stable samples the median CHA load was lower in AM farms compared to CM farms. The CHA contents of ALK filter samples were significantly correlated in most locations. Differences between the farming types were not significant. Although allergen transfer to the private area of the farmers has been found and results from several locations were correlated, differences in CHA concentrations were not significant with respect to questionnaire data such as the wearing of stable clothes in living room, free access of pets to stable and home, frequency of hair washing. All sampling techniques seem to being practicable for simple and effective CHA measurement. (C) 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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