HEPA Filters Explained

Everyone hears about the benefits of having a HEPA filter for their vacuum, but not everyone knows what a HEPA filter does or even what it is. While we all want to do what’s best for our families and ourselves in terms of health, many will not invest in something that they don’t understand. And, yes, a HEPA filter is an investment. Using one can greatly reduce the number of allergens in your air simply by removing more particles and smaller particles than can be picked up by a vacuum not equipped with HEPA filters.

First, let’s discover what HEPA is. HEPA is an acronym standing for “high efficiency particulate air”. That’s a mouthful and the reason the filter became known as a much smaller word. For the sake of simplicity, as I enjoy the simple things, a HEPA filter is a filter capable of trapping and eliminating much smaller particles from the air in your home that other vacuum cleaner filters would simply redistribute throughout the air. These particles are invisible to the naked eye and can’t be seen without the aid of a microscope. Therefore, those who don’t use a HEPA filter can’t be told on by the “look” of these particles in their home. It is only in air quality that the HEPA filter can be compared. Less particles in the air equate to less possible irritants for allergy sufferers.

Now, not all filters touted to be HEPA filters are truly HEPA filters. To be sure of the type of filter you are purchasing, there are a few things you need to know to look for when purchasing. True HEPA filters are tested and must meet strict guidelines to be called HEPA at all. HEPA filters must trap at least 99.97% of particles in the air measuring .3 microns or larger. The size of a micron can’t be seen without help, so this is done scientifically.

When HEPA filters pass the test, they are assigned a serial number. In addition, the test results are printed directly onto the filter to assist the consumer in making a decision. The cost of this performance is higher than what is termed “HEPA type filters”. Only true or absolute HEPA filters are given serial numbers and test results.

HEPA type filters are similar to true HEPA filters, but there are some major differences. While their cost is lower, they only have to capture 85% of particles. In addition, the size of the particles captured only has to be 1 micron, which is much larger than what a true HEPA filter must capture.

Basically, the real decision comes down to the consumer. If you are an allergy sufferer or just want the cleanest air possible, then a true HEPA filter may be what is best. If your pocketbook is a little on the light side, then a HEPA type filter may suit your needs best. But, before you purchase, make sure to double check the test results and ensure you are purchasing the right type of filters. All true HEPA filters must meet the .3 micron particles at 99.97%. If it doesn’t then what you are purchasing is a HEPA type filter.

HEPA type filters are still better than the conventional bag, but be aware of what you are getting for your money before you spend. Making clear and informed decisions will always yield a higher rate of satisfaction and that is what every consumer is after with every purchase.

You can find quality HEPA filters at EZvacuum to make  your cleaning experience even better.

Pistachios recalled by Kraft

If you enjoy nuts, you might want to sit up and take notice. Most have heard the recently publicized incidences of tainted peanuts being recalled, but peanuts are not alone in being a current public health issue. Pistachios are also up on the table as a health hazard.

According to a report by Fox News, pistachios contaminated with salmonella have been recalled by the Kraft company. Setton International Foods, Inc., the manufacturer of the nuts in questions confirmed that Kraft officials knew of the contamination in batches of pistachio nuts as early as September 2008 and are just now recalling nuts. The recall, they said, was in conjunction with a second positive testing of salmonella in a batch of pistachios. No recall was done for the first testing of nuts that showed evidence of contamination.

The company itself serves 38 states. It should also be noted that the first batch of contaminated pistachios were discovered at a sister company, Setten Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. The first testing in September of 2008 was discovered when a batch of Kraft snack mix underwent the procedure and returned positive results for salmonella.

The Food and Drug Administration spokesperson and safety official Dr. Acheson said he believes the batch of tainted snack mix was either recalled or destroyed. His response, though, doesn’t give conclusive proof as to the fate of that snack mix.

Setton International Foods raised further eyebrows when a spokesperson and production manager, Lee Cohen, stated that Setton Pistachio was not informed of the September 2008 incidence of salmonella until last week, after the second test showed positive for salmonella.

Kraft, a company that produces a multitude of convenience foods, is said not to have responded immediately to messages seeking comments about the situation from the journalists who covered this story. It is unclear whether or not any comment from Kraft has been given in conjunction with the tainted pistachio nuts or if Kraft ever confirmed what happened to the first batch to test positive.

The only conclusion one can have concerning this issue is to use caution when consuming pistachios or peanuts given the reports of such occurrences at this time. It is far better to refrain from consuming these products than to become a victim of food poisoning.

For those who are unsure what salmonella is, it is a bacteria that is harmful to humans. It creates illness associated with food poisoning and is easily transferred by improper cleaning of surfaces from use by multiple products. Salmonella is naturally occuring in chicken, which is why chicken must be thoroughly cooked. Surfaces that come into contact with raw chicken should be cleaned thoroughly with a cleaner known to kill the salmonella bacteria, such as chlorine. Salmonella is also destroyed when high heat is present as happens in cooking. This is why chicken is still a safe food to eat when fully cooked.