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A Tale Of Two Cities: NYC Vs. L.A. - Pilot Study Indicates Nasty Pollutants In Families' Home Air

Stocks in this article: HELE

NEW YORK, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Most families don't think about what contaminants could be lurking in their indoor air, so environmental health experts put two average homes to the test as part of a new pilot study. Two families – one in New York and one in suburban Los Angeles – were asked to run an air purifier in their homes for two consecutive months and then send the air filters to a team of microbiologists for initial testing. The families were alarmed by the preliminary results that indicated what was floating in their air – from insect parts to heavy metals such as lead. Interestingly, the New York home had higher levels of mouse allergens and black carbon from diesel engines, whereas pollen and skin cells were more abundant in the Los Angeles home. The pilot study, which was underwritten by Kaz USA, Inc. and executed by Environmental Health & Engineering, used the Honeywell AirGenius Air Cleaner to capture airborne particles.


"Most Americans don't realize that indoor air can be far more polluted than outdoor air. In fact, the EPA states it can be 2-5 times more polluted. In order to be energy efficient, most homes don't allow for a lot of air ventilation which means many pollutants that exist indoors get trapped and held there," said Dr. Ted Myatt, ScD, senior scientist at Environmental Health & Engineering and director of Research Compliance at University of Rhode Island. "The preliminary findings of heavy metals and black carbon on the air filters are interesting because this means the air purifier is capable of capturing these pollutants from the air and therefore potentially reducing exposures in the home.  These types of trace metals often come from fossil fuels and exhaust that we bring inside or aerosol paints, printer laser ink jets, nail polish, home cleaning detergents and various wood finish applicants that we have used in the home."

Based on preliminary results from both homes, the following airborne pollutants were captured by the air purifier's pre-filter and proprietary QuietClean ® ifD ® filtration system:

  • Black carbon – emission sources include diesel engines, vehicles, and residential heating.
  • Heavy metals – trace metals include aluminum, chromium, nickel, tin and lead, a known neurotoxin. Sources often include paints and coatings, printer laser ink jets, nail polish, motor oil, home cleaning detergents, fossil fuels or exhaust.
  • Mouse and dog allergens – particles include dander from rodents and family pets.
  • Dust contaminants – particles include hair follicles and epithelial (skin) cells from humans and insect parts.
  • Fungal spores - Examples of fungal spores typically found indoors include Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Ulocladium and Alternaria.
  • Pollen – particles that typically make their way inside through open windows or on clothes and shoes.

For a full list of pollutants discovered as part of the initial results, and to review the full-text pilot study, visit: .

The Honeywell AirGenius Air Cleaner, which uses the patented QuietClean ifD filtration system and a carbon pre-filter, captures up to 99.9% of particles (0.3 microns and larger) from the air that passes through it, like pollen, dust, smoke and pet dander. The air cleaner features five intuitive operation settings: Sleep, Germs, General, Allergen, and Max. For more product information and tips, visit

MethodologyThe Honeywell AirGenius Air Cleaner was placed in the main living area in each home and run constantly over the course of a two-month period (July – August 2012). The homes were located in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Both homes met the same criteria of the number of people living in the home (four), family pets (one cat or dog) and home square footage. Each family classified itself as non-smoking, bi-weekly household cleaners and regular kitchen users. Both residences ran central air conditioning during the test period.

This is a pilot study, not a peer-reviewed or published scientific study. Pilot studies represent a fundamental phase of the research process. The purpose of conducting a pilot study is to examine the feasibility of an approach that is intended to be used in a larger scale study and used to evaluate the feasibility of recruitment, randomization, retention, assessment procedures, new methods, and implementation. This pilot study is not a hypothesis testing study and, due to the small sample size, the results are not generalizable beyond the homes in the study.

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