Surface sampling for endotoxin assessment using electrostatic wiping cloths

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of Occupational Hygiene

DOI of Published Version


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OBJECTIVES: Much of the cost of exposure assessment for studies of residential cohorts is in scheduling and travel time for field staff. One way to reduce costs is to simplify methods such that subjects can sample their own residence. Analysis of settled dust is being widely used for assessment of exposures to allergens, lead and pesticides and can also be used for endotoxins. While vacuum sampling is the most common surface sampling method, wipe sampling has the advantage that it can be readily performed by the resident when convenient and samples can then be mailed to researchers. Thus, we evaluated the feasibility of wipe sampling for endotoxin environmental assessment using electrostatic wipes with or without the use of disposable examination gloves. METHODS: Multiple lots of six types of commercial wipes and eight types of gloves were extracted and analyzed for endotoxin content using the kinetic chromogenic Limulus amebocyte lysate assay. Wipes were compared across brands, between lots, within lots, between pairs depending on proximity to cardboard packaging, and in wipe tests with or without gloves. Collected dust samples of known concentration were also tested in spiking assays for endotoxin recovery. RESULTS: The most striking finding was the high variability of endotoxin contamination of both wipes and gloves across brands and between various lots. The content of endotoxin in unused gloves ranged from <1.5 to 5810 endotoxin units (EU). The range for unused wipes was 3.6-87.8 EU. Surfaces of equal loading and area were sampled using three types of cloths that had low initial endotoxin contamination. The cloths were very good at collecting dust and endotoxin could be assayed from aqueous extracts of the wipes. Samples collected using cloths with bare washed hands yielded higher endotoxin loading per mass of collected dust versus samples collected wearing endotoxin-free gloves. This demonstrated additional endotoxin loading from the subject's hand. CONCLUSION: This study shows that wipe sampling while wearing medical gloves can be an effective method for collecting and assessing endotoxin on surfaces, so long as each lot of wipes and gloves have been tested and determined to be low in endotoxin.



Published Article/Book Citation

Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 49:5 (2005) pp.401-406. DOI:10.1093/annhyg/mei002.

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