Research Agenda Item: Develop standardized tests for rating the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners in removing allergen-containing particles of known size from carpets, upholstery, drapes, and other materials. The tests should take into account the possible dispersion of particles from carpet caused by the cleaning process itself.
The effectiveness of air cleaning devices and practices depends on variables such as the volume of air that passes through the filter, the particle size of the air contaminant to be removed, and the source emission rate. If the air flow rate through an air cleaning device is low, for example, and the emission rate of the allergen is high, then the beneficial effect of the air cleaner is likely to be nonsignificant.
Research Agenda Item: Develop standardized test procedures for rating the effectiveness of air cleaning devices and other methodologies for removal of known size classes of particles containing allergens. The tests should address the capability of the device or methodology in removing airborne particulates from entire rooms or zones of buildings.
Restricted airflow and dissemination of particulates into occupied spaces are valid reasons for cleaning air supply ducts. Protocols for cleaning air conveyance systems are currently in development by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. However, the effectiveness of duct cleaning in controlling allergic disease is yet to be determined.
Research Agenda Item: Evaluate the role of duct cleaning in controlling allergic diseases.
As described throughout this report, ambient relative humidity is often considered to be a major controlling factor for indoor allergens. Control of relative humidity, or water vapor pressure in occupied space and in the HVAC system is an important part of allergen control in both residential and commercial buildings.
Research Agenda Item: Develop a public-use guideline on moisture and allergen control in buildings. The guideline should describe the proper use of vapor retarders and other techniques for moisture control in both naturally and mechanically ventilated buildings.
There are approximately 4 million commercial and 84 million detached residential buildings in the United States. About 75–85 percent of the buildings that will exist in the year 2000 have already been built. Maintenance, operation, renovation, and housekeeping practices affect the useful life span of a building and the quality of the indoor air. Cost effective