Air Conditioners and aerobiology, do we know their impact on ultrafine particles and other airborne pathogens?

air conditionersThe New York Times recently published an article in its health section on the problem of ultrafine particles following a recent Australian study. The study has raised serious concerns as to the safety of many of today’s most popular vacuum cleaners but is it confined to vacuum cleaners?

That the emission of ultrafine particles from certain Vacuum Cleaners that incorporate HEPA based filtration can expose consumers to bacterial fragments and other noxious particulate materials is of concern. Perhaps it should not be surprising however, as the composition of household dust includes bacteria, viruses, mold and toxins.

airmid healthgroup has recently discovered that the problem with vacuum cleaners may be small by comparison with that presented by other electrical appliances such as window and portable air-conditioning units (ACU), air cleaner devices and dehumidifiers. Initial data indicate that an operating ACU can result in a ten-fold greater exposure to bacterial fragments and other microorganisms in the indoor space. Portable and through-the-window ACUs and dehumidifiers often represent air-handling and air-moving electrical technologies that, at best, have only low levels of filtration.

Most microorganisms are of sub-micron particulate size. When dust in a room is disturbed, these particles can remain airborne for days at a time. Recirculation of the contaminated air augments exposure and potential infectivity. Ultrafine particle exposure may be further increased by microorganism contamination of the unit.

airmid healthgroup is a uniquely integrated testing facility that combines molecular biology with state of the art air sampling and particle counting in a highly sophisticated test chambers. Availing of such facilities, airmid healthgroup can follow nominated airborne infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, molds and other toxic biological particles including ultrafine particles as they become airborne and are distributed throughout the chamber in the presence and absence of a particular electrical appliance.

Companies that value their reputation, customer loyalty and are leaders in their field for technological excellence must be interested in addressing the problems outlined. As consumers will seek out products that have proactively dealt with this issue there is an opportunity for these companies to lead the industry thus creating a significant competitive advantage.

Just as with vacuum cleaners, it is inevitable that media attention will focus on the negative health implications associated with other electrical appliances that move air in the home such as window/portable air conditioners.”Health in the Home” is of major importance to the US consumer.

Resulting from airmid healthgroup's previous work and applied research in microbiology, molecular biology, and aerobiology we are uniquely positioned to provide some of the solutions to industry. With our facilities, capabilities and partnerships, we are embarking upon consultative research, design and innovation projects to determine the extent of environmental biocontamination and its impact on Occupational Health, Industrial Hygiene and Environmental medicine
In particularly airmid healthgroup will be looking at

  1. the extent of the problem across a wide range of electrical appliances
  2. the development of new technologies to overcome these hazards
  3. the provision of necessary data to support the successful introduction of new products

 

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