Concentration of any substance in the air of a room is determined by the ratio between the rates of its production and removal. Thus, high concentrations can result from high production, low removal, or a combination of the two. Air filtration can supplement ventilation in removing allergens from the air. Control of aeroallergen exposure at any particular location would be more rational and effective if the contribution of production, ventilation, and filtration were known. Using immunochemical assays for rat urinary protein allergen, we measured the rate of production by individual rats and the concentration of allergens in the air of rat animal quarters where the ventilation rate was about 15 changes per hour. We introduced two different high-efficiency filtration systems that provided additional clean air changes up to a maximum of 127 changes per hour. Male rats shed about 20 ng/min of allergen. Because of this high rate of production, substantial reduction in rooms that housed large numbers of animals required the very high air-exchange rates that were acheived with laminar flow small animal isolator racks. Measured concentrations agreed well with concentrations calculated from a mass balance equation whose terms included numbers of animals in the room, production rate by individual animals, and rates of ventilation and filtration. We suggest that this principle of considering both production and removal rates applies not only to devising means of reducing levels of rat allergens in rat rooms, but generally to other indoor allergens as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine