Air Conditioners and aerobiology, do we identify their bang on ultrafine particles and other airborn

18th May 2012
By Bruce Mitchel in Medical Malpractice
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Position paper by Dr Bruce Mitchell, CEO Airmid Healthgroup and Consultant Immunologist

The New York Times just published an article in its health section on the problem of ultrafine particles following a recent study published out of Australia. The study has increased serious concerns as to the protection of many of today’s most popular vacuum cleaners but is it restricted to vacuum cleaners?

That the release of ultrafine particles from certain Vacuum Cleaners which include HEPA based filtration can result in consumers being uncovered to bacterial fragments, and other harmful particulate materials is of concern and some surprise.

However, recognising that the composition of household dust contains bacteria, viruses, mold and toxins, and with a knowledge of their linked particle sizes, possibly it should not be surprising.

Of course, such experience has the capacity to induce ill-health!

Airmid Healthgroup (AHG) has just found that the difficulty with vacuum cleaners may be small by comparison with that presented by other electrical appliances for example; window and portable air-conditioning units (ACU), air cleaner devices and dehumidifiers.

For example initial data specifies that an operating ACU can result in a ten-fold greater exposure to bacterial fragments and other micro-organisms in the indoor space. As portable and during the window ACU’s and dehumidifiers often represent air-handling and air-moving electrical technologies that, at best, have only low levels of filtration, maybe this should definitely not be surprising!

Most micro-organisms are of sub-micron particulate size. When dust in a room is disturbed, these particles remain airborne for days at a time. Recirculation of the contaminated air provides to augment experience and hence potential infectivity. Ultrafine particle exposure may be further increased by microorganism contamination of the unit with growth of Viruses, bacteria and molds.

AHG is a exclusively integrated testing facility ( which combines molecular biology with state of the art air sampling and particle counting in an extremely sophisticated AC-1 chamber. Availing of such facilities, AHG can follow nominated Airborne Infectious Agents such as viruses, bacteria, molds and other toxic biological particles containing ultrafine particles as they become airborne and are distributed during the chamber in the presence and absence of a particular electrical appliance.

Aerobiological data generated in this manner will have a vastly greater degree of sensitivity and specificity than any that relies on conventional culture techniques. Molecular technology also allows for quantification of residual contamination within the air-conditioner and its ability to capture any infective biological particulate material being shed.

Companies that value their status, client loyalty and are leaders in their field for technological excellence must be interested in addressing the problems outline on a first mover basis. As consumers will seek out products that have proactively dealt with this issue there is a chance for these companies to lead the industry so creating an important competitive benefit?

Now as with vacuum cleaners, it is inevitable that media notice will focus on the negative health suggestions linked with other electrical appliances that move air in the home for example window/portable air conditioners. "Health in the Home" is of major significant to the US customer.

Resulting from AHG’s previous work and applied research in microbiology, molecular biology, and aerobiology we are uniquely positioned to give some of the solutions to industry.

With our facilities, capabilities and partnerships, we are embarking upon consultative research, design and innovation projects to decide the extent of environmental biocontamination and its impact on Occupational Health, Industrial Hygiene and Environmental medicine

In mainly Airmid Healthgroup will be searching

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

Use the provided links to know about Environmental test chamber and Environmental causes of allergy and asthma.
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