Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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Testing Vacuum Cleaners
Size Of Small Dust Makes Big Difference
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The Small Particles That Enter The Lungs Are The Most Dangerous

A sneeze is a great way to get rid of small dust particles. This is a natural way for the body to expel allergens such as pollen from the lungs and throat area. However, if you have mold in your air, perhaps emerging from your air-conditioner, you will notice that the air in the room is stale or even smells bad. At this point, you might start coughing. Mold can be carried on dust or pollen particles, and enter deep into the lungs. This is also true for the dead bodies of ticks, dust mites or their airborne droppings, and other dangerous particles.

Sneezing or coughing are different reactions. They indicate different degrees of risk. It also reflects the difference in size of the different particles. A tick or dust mite is usually about 100 micron. Pollen is about 10 micron, while mold particles can be as small as 2 micron. Ticks or pollen are usually caught in the nose, causing a sneeze to occur. For people who suffer from hay fever, these particles enter the eye and cause irritation to the eye rather than the nose.

Mold is a different problem. Because the particles are so tiny, they are not completely captured by the nostril hairs that protect the sinus area or the interior of the nose canals. There are times when particles of 3 microns or less enter the windpipe, causing irritation and bronchitis.

Pulverized Airborne Particles Mean Trouble

If the tick, the pollen or the mold is being pulverized, when it reaches size of 1 micron or less, it easily enters deep into the lungs, and you cannot remove them by coughing. For people who suffer from allergies, when the allergen enters deep into the lungs, it means trouble. The immune system may try to absorb the particle, in order to process them. The mechanism is actually very complicated and not fully known. Experts warn that there are times when pneumonia can be caused by airborne particles emitted from vacuum cleaners.

The way many Japanese vacuum cleaners are designed, they actually crush and pulverize dangerous substances exactly in such a way that they will be able to enter deep into the lungs.

Already over 35 years ago it was known that small particles of about 0.3 microns to 10 microns are a greater health risk than larger particles of about 100 microns. Air pollution experts clearly saw this risk and communicated it in many reports. It is unfortunate that the manufacturers of vacuum cleaners ignored such data. Instead, they have focused on creating machines that only compete with other machines based on suction force. The polluted air emitted from vacuum cleaners should be analyzed so that better machines can be developed.

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