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To Understand Filtration, Flex Your Imagination

ProTeam Cleaning for Health Tip of the Month

February 6, 2012

ProTeam Tip of the Month

Dirt is dirt, no matter how small. It's the task of the cleaning professional and his or her equipment to remove unwanted matter from an indoor environment and put it where it belongs, disposed in a vacuum filter bag. Fifty years ago, this process was much simpler than it is now. A worker would vacuum and, if the floor looked clean, go home.

''If it looks clean'' simply isn't good enough anymore. Buildings haven't gotten dirtier in the last 50 years, but technological developments and scientific studies have made us aware of unwanted matter on smaller and smaller levels. It is now widely accepted that the most sinister microscopic particles (pollen, mold, chemicals, and bacteria) can add up to a huge impact on the health of a facility and its occupants.

ProTeam® vacuums with Four Level® Filtration and the option of HEPA are designed with powerful suction to capture and contain the smallest particles that threaten the health of a facility.

Unfortunately the smaller the particles, the more difficult it is to imagine the cleaning process that is necessary to remove them. What kind of cleaning tool cleans invisible contaminants? What does that even look like? In order to visualize this epic microscopic battle against germs, pollen, dander, and mold, we must use a measurement system as a point of reference.

In the cleaning industry, particulate matter is measured by microns. A micron is 1/25,000th of an inch, 1/1,000th of a millimeter. A human hair is about 70 microns in diameter. Particles less than 10 microns in size can be easily inhaled by a passerby and irritate the throat and lungs.

Dander, pollen, mold, and dust mite eggs can be as small as 1 micron in diameter. Yeast and bacteria particles get down to 0.4 microns. These particles that are invisible to the human eye can cause irritation to the lungs, eyes, and sinuses, putting those who suffer from asthma or allergies at greater risk.

The fight against microscopic pollutants is the fight against sick building syndrome and absenteeism. It is a quest to educate and engage building occupants about the reality of maintaining healthy indoor air. It is an investment in superior cleaning tools for the long-term return of a healthier, happier facility.

Designed for a Microscopic Clean

In order to clean microscopic matter, cleaning tools must be specifically designed for filtering microscopic particles. A vacuum that doesn't boast of its microscopic filtration, doesn''t have it. Without proper filtration, most of the smaller particles will be blown out the exhaust to settle back into the carpet. With a high-performance, suction-only ProTeam vacuum, dirt, skin cells, and impurities down to the smallest microbe get sucked into the vacuum with no need for a beater-bar to loosen the dirt.

All vacuums designed by ProTeam, the company that first introduced the lightweight backpack vacuum, use Four Level® Filtration to extract 99.9 percent of all particulate matter 1 micron or larger. Each filter works in tandem, sifting out smaller and smaller impurities, and prevents them from blowing back out the exhaust, reducing the level of particulates and allergens that reenter the atmosphere.

ProTeam's High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)-filtered models filter 99.97 percent of matter 0.3 microns or larger, and their Ultra Low Penetration Air (ULPA)-filtered model filters 99.999+ percent of all matter 0.12 microns or larger. ULPA filtered vacuums are usually reserved for clean-room and biomedical applications, but disposable HEPA filters can be integrated into the cleaning program of any facility to promote good IAQ.

Vacuums that brag about "HEPA-type", "HEPA-like" or "99% HEPA" are cleverly hiding that they do not meet the Department of Energy''s HEPA-efficiency standard of capturing 99.97 percent of all matter 0.3 microns or larger.

Why is it important to filter out particles down to such a microscopic size? According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 25 percent of Americans suffer from allergies. Harvard researchers have observed that global warming is causing spring to arrive earlier each year, resulting in up to a 55 percent increase in the amounts of ragweed pollen in the air. What's more, 20 million people suffer from asthma, including 9 million children, costing the U.S. $10 billion annually in direct health care costs and lost productivity.

ProTeam partners with the American Lung Association to educate the public on indoor air quality's role in lung health.