How to use a vacuum cleaner without using the cord
More than a dozen states are investigating the impact of cordless vacuum cleaners on residents’ health, including some with bans on the devices.
The California-based company has received at least 17 complaints in five states and filed a class-action lawsuit in New York.
The suit argues that the devices can cause respiratory damage, causing the vacuum cleaner to “suck the air from the air filter and produce dust and particulate matter” inside homes.
“The air filters on these devices are designed to filter the dust and the particulate material, and when the air filters are removed, the vacuum cleaners will suck the air out of the filter and that creates a vacuum in your home,” the lawsuit states.
A spokesman for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control said in an email that the state has received multiple complaints about the products and that it is “investigating the issue.”
The Washington State Department of Health and Human Services said it is also investigating cordless vacuums, which it said “can lead to the release of airborne toxins, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and formaldehyde.”
The agency said it has banned the devices from homes in Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver, and Tacoma, but has not banned the products from other areas.
In a statement, the company said it had not received any of the complaints.
A California resident who recently tested positive for cadmias and mercury from a cordless model said she had been using a vacuum to treat asthma, but she noticed the cleaner made her cough and sneeze.
She said she was concerned the company might use the devices to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The product was tested at the company’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and was found to contain the contaminants, said Jennifer A. O’Malley, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Authority.
She said the state is “monitoring this product.”
“We are looking into the potential risks that could be posed by using the product,” O’Malleys statement said.
“We have contacted the company and are waiting for a response.”
In a blog post earlier this month, the California health agency said its agency has not received complaints from residents.
But in an interview with a local television station, a resident said her family has had to use the vacuum for the past two weeks to clean up her apartment and was surprised to see it was working.
“It was a little overwhelming,” said the woman, who identified herself only as Laura.
“We had to have the vacuum and everything, so it was a relief.”
She said her husband, who works for a chemical company, had been doing the cleaning while they were away from home and she had to make the call.
“I just wanted to clean everything up, so that I could go back to work,” she said.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.
The Washington state health agency did not immediately respond to questions about the state’s investigation.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also probing the devices, according to a statement.
The agency will issue its final findings in the spring, spokesman Tim Wirth said.