Environmental Monitoring

Hygiene studies have improved understanding of the exposure characteristics of different workplaces and activities. Hygiene monitoring can give confidence that controls are reducing allergen concentrations and that changes in controls do not have a negative effect. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to demonstrate that a change in working practice for a reason other than improved allergen control does not have a significant adverse effect on levels. Unfortunately, the analysis of allergen samples is expensive and time-consuming. Analytical services are not widely available. It is relatively simple to measure concentrations of particles, and this has the advantage that it can be done in real time, giving a clearer indication of the fluctuating personal exposure (to particles) during the working day (see Figure 7.6).73 There is, however, no correlation between the concentrations of particles and allergen. For example, it has been pointed out that handling clean and dirty bedding may both generate high concentration of particles, but in the first case, no animal allergen is present at all. At present, there are no internationally recognized standards for analytical methods or acceptable aeroallergen exposure levels.

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