Parents of kids with peanut allergy and adults with a peanut allergy may worry about allergen exposure from surfaces not cleaned after peanut contamination. There has been, after all, no data in medical literature indicating how long peanut allergen persists on an uncleaned table surface—until recently.
A couple of years ago, researchers in Canada decided to discover just how persistent peanut allergen can be. What their research revealed may be of interest to those affected by peanut allergy for two reasons:
- It validates concerns about the possibility of peanut allergen lingering on uncleaned surfaces.
- It validates the effectiveness of using commercial disinfecting wipes to clean peanut allergen from table surfaces.
The investigators reached their conclusions by evenly smearing peanut butter over a non-porous table surface. They took samples from the surface at regular intervals, over a 110 day period, to detect Ara h 1 (peanut allergen). The table was kept in a hospital office at room temperature with ambient lighting. No cleaning occurred during the 110 days.
There was no Ara h 1 allergen found prior to applying peanut butter on the table. Right after the application, and during the following 110 days, detectable Ara h 1 was found every time a sample was taken. However, no peanut allergen remained after cleaning the surface with a commercial cleaning wipe.
For those of us affected by peanut allergy, knowing Ara h 1 was scientifically proven to endure on an uncleaned surface may be alarming, but this knowledge can also come in handy. Should anyone question our concern about contaminated table surfaces, or the use of cleaning wipes on public surfaces, this research data will strengthen our educational replies.
The tabletop study may also boost confidence in the peanut allergen-busting ability of the disinfectant wipes available in stores. Knowing they are effective destroyers of Ara h 1 gives allergy sufferers and caregivers one less thing to worry about.