airmid healthgroup is one of the few testing, inspection and certification laboratories that has the ability to determine the efficiency of a vacuum cleaner in removing a virus, a bacterium, a mould or an allergen from a variety of different surfaces and as a consequence a proportionately reduced airborne exposure.
Appropriate data for use in marketing can be hugely impactful in identifying for the consumer those vacuum cleaners that make a meaningful difference by comparison with those having a lesser impact.
Vacuum Cleaner manufacturers should consider capitalising on the importance of their products where infection control is concerned. This applies to control in a variety of settings, such as homes, offices, public spaces, and healthcare environments..
Vacuum Cleaners have a major part to play in the regular cleaning processes necessary to generate a Healthy Home environment. Much has been learned in recent months about how this cleaning contributes to the goal of reducing and/or removing the overall load of biologically active particles.
The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the dangers associated with airborne transmission of viruses. The particles in the air which we breathe when in the indoor environment are introduced by air movement, such as occurs when an individual is breathing in the space, as well as through air movement via open windows and doors or other openings. When these air currents carry a viral particle, over time the virus accumulates in the absence of adequate air change and air cleaning.
So, what has this got to do with vacuuming floors and other surfaces?
The period during which any particle remains airborne will depend upon its density. Very small particles remain aloft for hours on end, larger ones fall to ground much more rapidly though still at varying rates. Room disturbance can and will resuspend already settled particles. There is, therefore, a complex interaction between particles found in air and on surfaces at any one time point. Particles found on surfaces are very likely to represent microscopic dust particles which, when adhering together, create larger dust particles. This same principal applies to the biological particles containing viruses, bacteria, mould and allergens, their behaviour being influenced by their respective densities and the size of the particles to which they adhere.
In any indoor environment, Source Control represents one of the key aspects in achieving the desired level of microorganism containment.
Along with source control, increased ventilation as well as cleaning, both of surfaces and air, represents a crucial element in any containment or risk mitigation strategy where micro- organism exposure is concerned. Given that particles sediment under gravity, the floor area is likely to be the largest and most relevant surface in any indoor space. What becomes airborne will, in the presence of activity and movement, be influenced by the extent of the reservoir on the floor. Cleaning of the floor and other surfaces reduces the potential for airborne contamination.
Hence, the importance of good Vacuum Cleaners!
Vacuum cleaners should safely remove bio-contaminants present on surfaces. Studies to determine efficacy should be performed under conditions that closely replicate what is happening in real life in the home or other indoor environment. Our studies utilise proprietary test dusts scientifically proven to have particle size distribution and bio-burdens representative of those found indoors.
Combining “state of the art” surface and air sampling methodologies plus particle counting, in sophisticated ASTM chambers, sited immediately adjacent to our laboratories which employ the latest analytical techniques, AHG has an ability to accurately measure specific bio-contaminants which have been introduced into the chamber prior to vacuuming and assess the impact of vacuuming on those levels. The capability applies to designated viruses, bacteria, moulds, allergens and other toxic ultra-fine particles both on surfaces and in the air.
The data established indicates the level of contribution a particular Vacuum Cleaner can make to healthy living and provides the label claim validation that is required in the 21st century. This is the case regardless of the technology in use, as well as traditional filter based designs, we work with steam, UV, heat and robotic systems.
SEM Dust Distribution Photo Gallery
Read more on our comparison of ISO fine dust vs real house dust PDF
Vice President, Global Marketing,
Fellowes Work Solutions
Working with airmid healthgroup has given us access to valuable knowledge in aerobiology and indoor air quality. Their scientific expertise and rigorous testing process has supported our message that Fellowes AeraMax™ air purifiers can make a real contribution to improving the quality of air in homes and offices