|Vacuum sampling for allergen is to evaluate the environment for the presence of materials that may have a negative health impact on sensitive individuals. These materials are normally associated with household dust and may be conveniently sampled with a vacuum cleaner.The most common dust particles in homes are clothing fiber, skin flakes, and paper fiber. These all appear as “white dust”. The relative contribution of each of these three will vary depending on the size of the home, the number of people in the space, and the habits of the individuals in that space. Skin flakes tend to dominate in apartments or homes of smaller volume occupied by two or more individuals. Clothing fiber may dominate in homes where frequent laundering or drier vent issues may be present. Paper fiber may dominate where tissues are frequently used, newspapers are read, etc. Pet debris, road debris, plant material, insect debris, fungal debris, spider and mite debris, cleaning residues, combustion products, construction debris, etc., begin to individualize each home environment. The contribution of dusts from pets includes dander, hair, fecal material, flea debris, pet powders, food debris, cat box debris, etc.|
Step by Step
The following equipment is required:
1. A small canister vacuum with a motor of at least 7 amps.
2. A device for holding the filter.
3. A basket-type coffee filter.
4. Sandwich-size sealable plastic bag (ie “Ziplock”).
5. Sample sheet.
6. Pen or pencil.
7. Four-meter string with nows at each meter (may form a continuous loop).
Assembling the Vacuum Sampler
1. Mount the filter in the vacuum accessory hose to form a cup about 1 inch deep and fold the excess filter around the outside of the house.
2. Add the threaded compression washer seat over the filter on the outside of the vacuum accessory hose.
3. Add the compression washer to secure the filter in place.
4. Screw on the nozzle to compress the washer securely around the vacuum accessory hose, ready for sampling.
Sample Site Selection
1. One sample should be taken from the high use area, and one from the sleeping area of the individual with health problems. If the area identified as high use is not carpeted then pick a carpeted area with the highest use. If this is true, then look for dust collection opportunities in the high use area using tapelifts.
2. Chose an area that is at least one square meter, open to free particle deposition, but out of high traffic areas.
3. Be sure to note on the sample sheet the last time the area was vacuumed.