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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999 Nov;104(5):1079-83.

Assessment of vacuum cleaners and vacuum cleaner bags recommended for allergic subjects.

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  • 1University of Virginia Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

High-quality vacuum cleaners and vacuum cleaner bags are often recommended to allergic patients as a means of reducing indoor allergen exposure. A number of vacuum cleaners on the market today claim to capture 99.9% of particles 0.3 microm or larger entering the vacuum cleaner, and many vacuum cleaner bags are now being sold as microfiltration bags.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to compare the allergen-trapping abilities of vacuum cleaners and to use a new technique for testing vacuum cleaner bags that are recommended for allergic patients.

METHODS:

Vacuum cleaners were tested in an 18-m(3) laboratory room permeated with dust containing high levels of cat allergen by using techniques previously described. Air was sampled with parallel filters in conjunction with a particle counter. The filters were assayed by ELISA for cat allergen (Fel d 1). Vacuum cleaner bags were tested by using a modified dust trap to pull sieved house dust containing a known amount of Fel d 1 across the material used for the bag. Allergen passing through the bag was trapped on a filter covering the exit of the trap and analyzed for Fel d 1.

RESULTS:

In general, vacuum cleaners designed for allergic patients leaked lower amounts of allergen (<0.5-4.04 ng/m(3)) than that found in our previous studies (<0.5-100 ng/m(3)). Single-layer vacuum cleaner bags performed poorly (1250-2640 ng recovered) compared with most of the 2- and 3-layer microfiltration bags (0.53-2450 ng recovered). The range of allergen recovered from the 2-layer bags (0.93-2450 ng recovered) highlighted the variability found between manufacturers.

CONCLUSION:

The results suggest that although allergen leakage has been reduced, there is still room for improvement. A method of testing allergen leakage by using Fel d 1 should be applied to vacuum cleaners and bags recommended for allergic patients.

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PMID:
10550756
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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