Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Your home is probably contaminated with mouse urine!

Unless you're R. Kelly, in which case it is likely contaminated with both mouse urine and human urine.  But seriously, according to an article in Pacific Standard Magazine approximately 82% of homes in the U.S. have readily detectable levels of mouse urinary proteins, and if you live in urban areas, the likelihood is close to 100%.  Dr. Elizabeth Matsui at Johns Hopkins University is worried about this mouse urine contamination for 2 reasons: 1. the proteins in mouse urine are apparently very stable and thus hang around for a long time (likely accumulating over time to higher and higher levels), and 2. mouse urinary proteins can elicit allergic responses and may cause asthma in children who are exposed to these ever increasing levels.  That being said, while mouse urine is likely to get a lot of attention, there are actually many things we should be worried about in and around our homes that are known to cause or worsen allergies and asthma in children... like common house dust, proximity to automobile traffic, drinking too many soft drinks, cleaning agents, plastic bottles, and flooring made from PVC... even when they aren't saturated with mouse urine.