Spring cleaning in dust clouds?

Vacuum cleaners might fill the air of households with toxic dust, as shown by the investigation of Clean Air Action Group.

Earlier, the organization determined through laboratory analysis of dust samples that dust found in homes, school gyms and kindergartens might contain lead, other heavy metals, and carcinogenic substances amongst others.

In the latest analysis CAAG aimed to find out how safe it is to remove the accumulated dust by vacuuming. The tests showed that a considerable amount of vacuum cleaners lets a part of vacuumed dust – especially the very fine, most toxic particles – pass through while blowing the dust everywhere in the air.

From the examined 21 randomly chosen kinds of vacuum cleaners, two-third emitted more particles while operating than there was in the air originally, meaning that they only stirred up the accumulated dust. This is of particular concern given the toxic content of household dust.

The price of vacuum cleaners is not representative either. All the devices below 18.000 forints failed the test; but the most expensive one – 250.000 forints – also increased the amount of particles by 50%. Meanwhile, a 18.900 forint vacuum cleaner decreased the amount of particles while vacuuming. It was shocking that in one of the kindergartens both of the used vacuum cleaners more than doubled the amount of particles while operating.

Meanwhile out of the 10 examined robotic vacuum cleaners all were safe, they absorbed and stored the dust within.

According to the tests, the safest option is to mop up or to use a robotic vacuum cleaner. When buying a new device it is recommended to purchase one with “A” rated dust filtering.

CAAG wishes to thank to its volunteers who provided vacuum cleaners and locations in their homes for the measurements. The robotic vacuum cleaners were provided by Robotguru.

translated by: Judit Nyári

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