Most household cleaners remove peanut allergens, Hopkins study shows

Posted on: Fri, 05/07/2004 - 8:07pm
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

This study was originally reported here:

[url=","],[/url] with some good discussion re: peanut proteins...

More details about the study are provided below


[b]Most household cleaners remove peanut allergens, Hopkins study shows[/b]

Peanut allergy sufferers and their parents take note: a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study finds that most soaps and household cleaners will remove enough peanut allergen from hands and dining surfaces at home and in schools to prevent an attack.
Comparing how well assorted cleaners or plain water remove Ara h 1, the most common peanut allergen, the Hopkins researchers showed that most products performed well, although dishwashing liquid left tiny traces of Ara h 1 on some cafeteria tables, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer left residual allergen on half of the hands tested.

"It's possible that dish soap creates a film over eating surfaces, making it difficult to clean underneath," says Children's Center pediatric allergist Robert A. Wood, M.D., senior author of the study. "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."

Wood says the bigger concern to emerge from the study was the failure of hand sanitizers, frequently seen by teachers as more convenient than sending children to the bathroom to wash up, to eliminate Ara h 1. "Their use may not really remove the allergen, but just spread it around," he says.

In the study, published in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers applied a teaspoon of peanut butter to the hands of 19 peanut allergy-free adult volunteers. Participants then washed their hands with various cleaning agents, plain water and an antibacterial hand sanitizer. Hand wipes, liquid soap and bar soap all removed the peanut allergen. Water left residual Ara h 1 on 3 of 12 hands, and hand sanitizer left residual allergen on 6 of 12 hands.

Researchers also compared the performance of plain water, dishwashing liquid, Formula 409 cleaner, Lysol sanitizing wipes and Target brand cleaner with bleach in removing a teaspoon of peanut butter from a clean table. All cleaning techniques except dishwashing soap removed the allergen; dish soap left residual Ara h 1 on 4 of 12 samples.

The Hopkins researchers sampled various surfaces in six schools and preschools in the Baltimore area, and found traces of allergen on only 1 of 13 water fountains, and on none of 22 desks or 36 cafeteria tables.

In an effort to simulate and measure potential airborne allergen exposure at schools and sporting events, and on airplanes, the investigators asked the 19 volunteers to eat peanut butter sandwiches, roasted whole peanuts in their shells and shelled peanuts while wearing small air monitors to study the amount of inhaled allergen. They also were asked to discard peanut shells on the floor and walk on them, and open 15 bags of unshelled peanuts and eat them.

The investigators failed to detect Ara h 1 in any of these settings, though Wood cautions that the team's measuring techniques might not have been sensitive enough to find small amounts of allergen. "Future studies that include challenging patients with peanut allergy in these settings will be needed to more reliably assess the risks of airborne exposures," he says.

Peanut allergy is the third most common food allergy in young children and the most common food allergy in older children, adolescents and adults.

The study was funded by the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation. Coauthors were Tamara T. Perry, M.D., and Mary Kay Conover-Walker of Johns Hopkins Children's Center, and Anna Pom

Posted on: Fri, 05/07/2004 - 8:18pm
Driving Me Nutty's picture
Joined: 05/01/2003 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]hand sanitizer left residual allergen on 6 of 12 hands.
Thanks for posting! That is interesting about the lack of hand sanitizer to remove peanut residue. I wonder if they tested hand wipes, like wet ones? I guess wipes would remove it better and not 'just spread it around' like a sanitizer does.
Although I'm disappointed in the results of the airborne test study. Was it a controlled environment? Such as an enclosed room or somewhere with good ventilation (which does NOT mimic an airplane environment).

Posted on: Sun, 05/09/2004 - 3:38pm
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Most excellent information. Already forwarded it to our school nurse.
Thank you!

Posted on: Mon, 05/10/2004 - 12:14am
Lovey's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004 - 09:00

After the well publicized study on "outgrowing peanut allergy", (also a John Hopkins Study and funded in part by Myra Reinhard Family Foundation), and what those conclusions seem to mean now, I just cannot have full faith in the study above.
Re. peanuts in schools: the only thing that can be truly concluded here is that by using very particular cleaning methods most of the single ARa h 1 protein, of the many peanut proteins, can be removed from hands and surfaces.
Is this enough? Is this good science? Is this ethical science considering the broader implications and the risks?

Posted on: Mon, 05/10/2004 - 6:12am
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

[i]I am also troubled by this study.[/i] Questions regarding whether this is good science (why did they choose that particular protein rather than Ara H 2, given that ELISA tests use Ara H 2 for detecting peanut proteins?) I also wanted to understand how the study was funded to determine whether there is the possibility of a hidden agenda...
If someone has access to the complete article in JACI, or is a patient of Dr. Woods or Dr. Perry and can pose some of these questions, that would be most helpful.

Posted on: Wed, 05/12/2004 - 3:09am
Lovey's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004 - 09:00

The point of medical research is to improve the quality of life and/or prolong it for the people who suffer from the condition studied. According to what is known about the peanut allergy, I don't see how this study accomplishes either one of these objectives.
In fact, it leaves me feeling very frightened when I read some of the press releases this study has spawned including:
I'll merely quote the first sentence which is disturbing enough:
" A good hand soap and household cleaner may be all parents need to make their home safe and protect their children from peanut allergy attacks. "

Posted on: Wed, 05/12/2004 - 3:38am
Kathy L.'s picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

From the Webmd Article:
"A good hand soap and household cleaner may be all parents need to make their home safe and protect their children from peanut allergy attacks."
It's not MY home that I'm worried about!!!

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2004 - 12:19pm
Yonit's picture
Joined: 06/24/2002 - 09:00

Another disturbing thought about this research - if dishwashing detergent was NOT effective at removing peanut protein, what are the implications for eating in places (restaurants, other homes, etc.) where dishes/cookware/utensils which were previously used with peanut products are washed with dishwashing detergent??

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2004 - 5:08pm
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

My guess is that the difference in the scenarios you mention is that the dishwashing liquid would be applied with hot water, so you would get a better breakdown of protein than was experienced in the study.
Still wishing someone could pull the full JACI article and post it....anybody?????
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited May 20, 2004).]

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