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.