Select Vacuums That Meet Strict Regulations
The tools of the cleaning trade continue to evolve into pollution fighting machines. In fact, the government, independent testing programs and other agencies now closely watch that certain cleaning standards are met under specific circumstances.
This article helps unravel the complexities surrounding three different programs—the CRI Seal of Approval, LEED green cleaning standards, and the EPA rules regarding lead safety—and then identifies the vacuums used in those programs to improve air quality, health and safety.
CRI Gold Seal
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is the national trade association representing carpet and rug manufacturers and suppliers. The CRI Seal of Approval program tests the effectiveness of carpet cleaning products and certifies that they remove soil and stains effectively without damage to carpet fibers. Vacuum cleaners must also meet strict indoor air quality standards.
The Seal of Approval program utilizes x-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology to measure precisely how much soil a vacuum removes from a carpet sample. CRI moved Green Label vacuums into the Seal of Approval program to emphasize soil removal efficacy as well as indoor air quality. Vacuums must meet a higher standard of removal as measured by XRF technology. Bronze certification requires a 10 percent improvement of cleaning performance over Green Label standards. In addition to even tougher standards for silver and gold performance ratings, a gold-level machine must also meet higher ambient air quality standards.
For dust containment at the bronze and silver levels, a vacuum must not release more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter back into the air where they can be inhaled. Gold-level vacuums must not release more than 35 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air.
Six ProTeam vacuums have ranked gold in the CRI Seal of Approval program:
- Super CoachVac®
- Super CoachVac HEPA
- Super QuarterVac®
- Super QuarterVac HEPA
- ProVac CN®
Silver-level vacuums include:
Nearly all other ProTeam vacuums have earned the bronze level rating at minimum.
To reduce the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical, biological and particulate containments that can adversely affect air quality, human health and the environment, the US Green Building Council has outlined a green cleaning policy for LEED-certified buildings. By following the policies outlined, buildings receive points towards their overall ranking.
Vacuums should be certified by the CRI testing program and operate with a sound level of less than 70 decibels. The equipment should also be ergonomically designed to minimize vibration, noise and user fatigue.
All ProTeam vacuums contribute to points earned under Credit IEQ 3.4 of LEED® Green Building rating system. All ProTeam vacuums also meet the standards and requirements of GS-42.
EPA Lead Safety
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Lead Safety Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (also known as the EPA RRP rule) serves to prevent lead exposure, especially lead dust. Beginning April 2010, contractors performing work that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978 must be EPA-certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Work areas should be contained so that no dust or debris leaves the perimeter. In order to achieve this, a contractor needs a true-sealed HEPA vacuum. The ProTeam Linevacer® HEPA backpack vacuum is equipped with a unique Four Level® Filtration system that utilizes a certified HEPA filter as the last filtration stage, meeting the EPA RRP rule. The certified HEPA filter is 99.97% efficient at filtering particulates down to 0.3 microns in size and is designed so that all particulate drawn into the vacuum is expelled through the HEPA filter with no air leaking past it.
The Linevacer is ideal for application when clean air in a controlled environment is critical, such as cleaning medical facilities, clean rooms and computer labs, including lead-contaminated environments subject to the EPA RRP rule. The Linevacer’s ergonomic design allows for quick and easy cleaning of floors, walls, ceilings, furniture and fixtures. The 50-foot power cord increases workspace productivity while the integrated tool belt keeps accessory tools within grasp.
In order to minimize dust in a lead-contaminated environment, always use a shroud with HEPA vacuum attachment when using power tools and equipment. A potentially lead-contaminated work area should be HEPA vacuumed on a daily basis.