Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cleaning Up at Lower Cost

Fine particles of ambient compositin at levels permitted by EPA in the community environment, and maybe 10-fold below OSHA occupational limits pose significant health hazards. As industrial hygienists, we reach for the industrial HEPA vacuum cleaner for any mess. This paper indicates that a commercial home cleaner will do just as well.

AIHAJ. 2001 Jul-Aug;62(4):482-93.

Particle emission characteristics of filter-equipped vacuum cleaners.

Trakumas S, Willeke K, Grinshpun SA, Reponen T, Mainelis G, Friedman W.Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056, USA.

Industrial vacuum cleaners with final high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters traditionally have been used for cleanup operations in which all of the nozzle-entrained dust must be collected with high efficiency, for example, after lead-based paint abatement in homes. In this study household vacuum cleaners ranging from $70 to $650 and an industrial vacuum cleaner costing more than $1400 were evaluated relative to their collection efficiency immediately after installing new primary dust collectors in them. Using newly developed testing technology, some of the low-cost household vacuum cleaners equipped with a final HEPA filter were found to have initial overall filtration efficiencies comparable to those of industrial vacuum cleaners equipped with a final HEPA filter. The household vacuum cleaners equipped with a final HEPA filter efficiently collect about 100% of the dry dust entrained by the nozzle. For extensive cleaning efforts and for vacuum cleaning of wet surfaces, however, industrial vacuum cleaners may have an advantage, including ruggedness and greater loading capacity. The methods and findings of this study are applicable to field evaluations of vacuum cleaners.

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