Most Cleaners Protect Against Peanut Allergy
Household Cleaners Effective at Removing Peanut Allergens
WebMD News Archive
May 10, 2004 -- A good hand soap and household cleaner may be
all parents need to make their home safe and protect their children from peanut
A new study shows most soaps and cleaners are effective at
removing enough peanut allergen residue from hands and dining surfaces to
prevent an allergy attack.
Researchers found most products worked well at removing the
most common peanut allergen, known as Ara h 1. The only exceptions were that
dishwashing liquid left small traces of the allergen on some tables, and
alcohol-based, antibacterial hand sanitizers left residual peanut allergen on
half of the hands tested.
The results of the study appear in the May issue of the
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Peanut allergy is the third most common food allergy in young
children and the most common food allergy in older children and adults.
Exposure to trace amounts of peanuts can trigger a potentially life-threatening
Avoidance of peanuts and peanut allergens is currently the only
available means of preventing an attack. That means sufferers must take drastic
measures to eliminate peanut-containing foods from their diet and avoid
accidental exposure at home, school, and in public areas.
Most Cleaners Remove Peanut Allergens
In this study, researchers looked at the effectiveness of a
variety of cleaning agents in removing the peanut allergen Ara h 1 from
tabletops and hands.
In the first test, researchers applied peanut butter to the
hands of 19 peanut allergy-free volunteers and then had them wash their hands
with various cleaning agents, plain water, and an antibacterial hand
sanitizers. Hand wipes, liquid soap, and bar soap removed the peanut allergen
effectively. But plain water left residual allergen on three of 12 hands, and
antibacterial hand sanitizers only worked on half of the hands.
In the second test, researchers compared the effectiveness of
plain water, dishwashing liquid, Formula 409 cleaner, Lysol sanitizing wipes,
and Target brand cleaner with bleach in removing a tablespoon of peanut butter
from a clean table.
All of the cleaners worked well at this task, but dishwashing
liquid left a small amount of the peanut allergen on four of 12 tables.
"It's possible that dish soap creates a film over eating
surfaces, making it difficult to clean underneath," says researcher Robert
A. Wood, MD, of Johns Hopkins Children's Center, in a news release. "But
our results suggest that even if a child licked the table vigorously after it
had been cleaned with dish soap, he probably still couldn't get enough allergen
to cause a reaction."