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Are Vacuum Cleaners Bad for Your Health?

Australian Study Shows Most Vacuum Cleaners Release Dust, Bacteria Back Into the Air

Indoor Air Cleaning Tips From the Pros continued...

David Corry, MD, is not a fan of the vacuum cleaner. Corry is a professor and chief of the section of immunology, allergy, and rheumatology in the department of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

He says that the only kind of vacuum that makes sense is a central unit. With these, the motor and filtration unit are located outside of the house, so all of the dust is also filtered outward.

“Standard vacuums all will emit dust of some kind, but it is very concerning to learn that older units spew out even more particulates,” he says.

“If you agitate a carpet by walking across it or vacuuming it, you will aerosolize these dust, germs, and spores, making it more likely that you will inhale the things that will cause your symptoms,” he says.

If you have allergies or asthma, replace carpets with hard tile, wood, or linoleum floors, he says. “Use the best vacuum that you can ... HEPA filters may not be as good as manufacturers portray them, but nonetheless if you have asthma, use them.”

Hands down: “It will do a better job than a conventional filter.”

'Better to Continue Regular Vacuuming'

Jill A. Notini says vacuuming the home is still the way to go. She is vice president of communications and marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Notini wasn’t able to review the study, but says the American Chemical Society’s news release regarding it doesn’t lead her to conclude “that anyone should stop vacuuming their home. It is by far better to continue regular vacuuming and cleaning to reduce particles and help improve overall indoor air quality,” she tells WebMD.  

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