The study, conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), took place in a nationally representative sample of 831 homes, in which researchers collected dust samples, asked questions and, we hope, looked for cats and dogs hanging around.
Researchers also found that dog and cat allergen levels were higher among households belonging to demographic groups in which dog or cat ownership was more prevalent, regardless of whether or not the household had the indoor pet. Exactly who those demographic groups are, we do not know. However, the researchers think that since dog and cat allergens can be transported on clothing, the community, particularly communities in which dog or cat ownership is high, may be an important source of these pet allergens. And for people allergic to dogs and cats, scientists say, living in communities with lots of dogs and cats might be "a challenge." Remember, dogs, these cats were well paid to figure that one out.
According to NEIHS, this was the first study of dog and cat allergens conducted in residential environments on a national scale. About time, right?
NEIHS says the results are trustworthy because: "The survey was conducted using established sampling techniques to ensure that the surveyed homes were representative of U.S. homes. The homes were sampled from seventy-five randomly selected areas (generally counties or groups of counties) across the entire country. The 831 homes included all regions of the country (northeast, southeast, midwest, southwest, northwest), all housing types, and all settings (urban, suburban, rural). For statistics derived from the 831 homes, the contribution from each home was weighted as necessary to ensure that the statistics were representative of the U.S. population."