Smartphone surfaces are flush with beta-d-glucan, allergens, and endotoxins

Smartphone surfaces are flush with beta-d-glucan, allergens, and endotoxins

November 10, 2022

2 minutes to read


Roran HP et al. Innovative compounds to reduce allergens, beta-D-glucans, and newly discovered endotoxins on smartphones. Presented at: ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting; 10-14 November 2022; Louisville, Kentucky.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. Elevated levels of beta-d-glucans, allergens and endotoxins can be found on smartphone surfaces, according to a poster presented at the American College of Asthma and Immunology’s annual scientific meeting.

However, different cleaners can be effective in removing these environmental hazards, over here B. Roran, A research intern at Boston Children’s Hospital, a student at Hopkinton High School, and colleagues write in the abstract.

Smartphone surfaces are filled with beta-D-glucans, allergens and endotoxins, but multiple cleaners are effective at reducing them. Source: Adobe Stock

Smartphones have shown elevated and variable levels of [beta-D glucans (BDG)] endotoxin, and Allergens for cats and dogs found on pet owners’ smartphones,” Roran said in an ACAAI press release.

“BDGs are found in fungal cell walls and have been found in many environments and surfaces, causing chronic airway and irritant symptoms, making BDGs an established marker to study the mold problem,” Roran said.

Endotoxins are potent inflammatory agents and markers of exposure to Gram negative bacteria Well, Roran continued.

The researchers used electrostatic wipes on the phones of 15 volunteers three times daily for 7 days and measured levels of allergens, BDG and endotoxins.

Their findings showed “high and variable” levels of BDG and endotoxins, including levels that are known to cause allergy and respiratory symptoms. The researchers also found cat and dog allergens mostly on pet owners’ phones, even though one phone had dust mites and allergens on it even though the owner of that phone didn’t have any pets.

Next, the researchers performed cleaning interventions with wipes on simulated phone models.

The cleaning wipes included 70% isopropyl alcohol and Clorox (Procter and Gamble) unbleached (0.184% benzyl and ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride), and is commercially available; and 0.12% chlorhexidine, 0.05% cetylpyridinium, 3% benzyl benzoate and 3% tannic acid, which are only available in these concentrations through laboratories or chemical suppliers. Wipes using no solution were used as controls.

Wipes wetted in a mixture of chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium versus control wipes showed a significant decrease in BDG (median, 269 vs. 1925 ng per wipe; s < .05) and endotoxin (median, 349 vs. 1,320 EU per survey; s <.001), the researchers found.

Also, there was a significant reduction in the cat (median, 55 vs 1,550 ng per survey; s <.001) and dog (median, 14 vs 407 ng per survey; s < .001) allergens with a combination of benzyl benzoate and tannic acid versus a control, the researchers continued.

The researchers said the mixed-mix solutions had the largest reductions compared to the control.

“The study demonstrates exposure to inhaled allergens and molecules that trigger innate immune reactions from a source most people would not have thought of,” run out s. Thorne, Ph.D., A professor at the University of Iowa’s Department of Public Health said in a news release. “If you have allergies or asthma, you may want to consider cleaning your smartphone more often to reduce exposure to these allergens and asthma triggers.”


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