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Air Quality in the Home Not As Healthy As Most Americans Believe

May 9, 2002
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NEWARK, Del., May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Ninety-five percent of Americans recently surveyed describe the air in their homes as "clean and healthy," when, in fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.

The survey was sponsored by W. L. Gore & Associates and was conducted by International Communications Research. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels.

"The good news is that consumers can take charge of the situation every time they turn on their vacuums," said Michael Debes of W. L. Gore & Associates. "An efficient vacuum cleaner will help capture most dust, allergens and irritants from carpets, furniture and other surfaces as you vacuum, while an efficient vacuum cleaner filter will help prevent particles -- as small as 1/300th the diameter of a human hair -- from re-entering the atmosphere after they are collected by the vacuum cleaner. The result is a cleaner home environment for families."

More than 97 percent of Americans surveyed believe that cleaning their homes is important to their air quality and nearly 50 percent of respondents said their primary vacuum is two years old or less, which means that they are benefiting from some of the latest vacuum filtration technologies.

When it comes to the relationship between vacuum filters and indoor air quality, Americans seem to make the connection. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said they considered a filter on their vacuum "important" to the quality of the air they breathe inside their home, and more than 83 percent of the Americans surveyed think it's important to have a vacuum filter that can be cleaned.In the same survey, Americans ranked filtration third among the features that are most important to them when buying a vacuum cleaner, right behind a vacuum cleaner's power and its manufacturer's reputation. A vacuum cleaner's style, as well as its comfort, weight and handling, were less important than filtration to customers.

As consumers are beginning to recognize the benefits of efficient vacuum filters, more vacuum manufacturers are starting to offer increasingly more sophisticated filtering systems on their vacuum models. Record-level vacuum sales suggest that consumers care about vacuum cleaner performance and want to benefit from the latest vacuum cleaner technology available on the market. Industry unit sales of full-size household vacuum cleaners in the third quarter of 2001 were higher than any other third quarter in history, according to the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association. Despite a weak U.S. economy, industry sales of full-size household vacuum cleaners remained strong in 2001 with 19,332,921 total units sold, slightly down from the previous record year of 19,550,381, according to the same source.

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