Monday, January 09, 2012

Is your vacuum cleaner polluting the air?

Some vacuum cleaners release fine dust and bacteria into
the air, a new study shows. Photo credit: Heather
Vacuum cleaners have become an invaluable tool for home cleaning – but they may not be as good as you think.

A new study shows that some vacuum cleaners actually contribute to poor indoor air quality by releasing bacteria and dust back into the air. These could spread infections and trigger allergies, the researchers say.

The scientists tested 21 vacuum cleaners from 11 manufacturers, which are marketed for household and commercial use. The vacuum cleaners were between 6 months and 22 years old and cost between $100 to almost $800.

The researchers found that all of the vacuum cleaners released some fine dust and bacteria into the air.

Even the vacuums with HEPA filters released only slightly lower levels of dust and bacteria.

Older and less expensive models contributed more to the indoor air pollution than newer and more expensive vacuum cleaners.

The study appeared in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Source: American Chemical Society press release

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