National Jewish, EPA put HEPA filters, air purifiers to the test

April 02, 2000

DENVER-HEPA-filter equipped vacuums and air filtration systems are used in many homes on the assumption that the devices lower allergic symptoms by removing allergens and irritants from the floor and air, respectively.

A National Jewish Medical and Research Center study will look at how effective these devices really are in removing various allergens and irritants such as cat dander, endotoxins, dust and tobacco smoke from the homes of children with asthma. Second, third and fourth-graders from the Kunsberg School, National Jewish¡|s on-site school for children with chronic illnesses, are participating in the study.

Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, this study seeks to learn how or if the use of an electrostatic air filtration system and the daily use of a HEPA-filter equipped vacuum reduce asthma symptoms and attacks, and/or medication use of children with asthma. The high efficiency particulate air filter, known commonly as a HEPA filter, is frequently found attached to vacuums, but there have been few scientific studies to verify the benefits of either system being tested for people with asthma.

"We want to find out if these interventions make a difference in lowering the amount of allergens and irritants in the home, and if the kids get better once we¡|ve done something to the environment," said Nathan Rabinovitch, M.D., a pediatric asthma specialist at National Jewish and principal investigator of the federally-funded study. "If we do see a difference, these types of devices might be one way to help lower asthma severity in some children."

In today's more energy-efficient, less-drafty homes, the exchange between indoor and outdoor air is decreasing, so finding an effective way to clean indoor air and remove dust could help people with asthma and other lung diseases.

"The tighter the homes, the less ventilation," Dr. Rabinovitch said. "The more venting you have the less allergens are a problem."

The two-month study begins with a team from National Jewish and the EPA monitoring classrooms and the children¡|s homes for dust, cigarette smoke and endotoxins, which are dead bacteria known to stimulate inflammation in the lungs. The team also will measure each home¡|s fresh air exchange, and cooling and heating ventilation systems. Following the environmental evaluation of the home, half the homes will receive an air filtration system and a HEPA filter vacuum; the other half will be in the control group. (Parents will be responsible for vacuuming every day of the week.) After the initial assessment, the team will check the classrooms and homes once more. National Jewish researchers will compile and analyze the collected information.

Throughout the study, sophisticated air monitoring stations will be used to record the size, and the types of allergens and irritants found at each home.

All the children in the study will continue to take their regular asthma medications. Medication inhalers will be equipped with a mini-computer that will register when the children use their medications. The children will fill out diaries and for four days will carry personal air samplers, as well.
-end-
This project is being conducted in collaboration with Shelly Miller, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Colorado.

For more information about asthma, indoor and outdoor air pollutants, call LUNG LINE, 800-222-5864 or e-mail, lungline@njc.org.

The Number 1 Respiratory Hospital in the U.S. for Two Consecutive Years, U.S. News & World Report, 1998-2000.

http://www.nationaljewish.org/pa

National Jewish Health

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.