Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection that affects many people at some time in their lives. The condition easily spreads in public places such as communal showers, locker rooms and fitness centers.

Usually this condition affects the spaces between your toes, but it can spread to your toenails and the soles and sides of your feet. The infection can also involve your palms and fingers. Although it occurs primarily in adults, athlete's foot can affect children.

Changing socks, keeping your feet dry and alternating shoes can help you prevent athlete's foot. Often, athlete's foot responds well to over-the-counter treatments you can apply to your skin. More severe cases may require oral medications.
Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of athlete's foot can be numerous, although you probably won't have all of them:
  1. Itching, stinging and burning between your toes, especially the last two toes
  2. Itching, stinging and burning on the soles of your feet
  3. Itchy blisters
  4. Cracking and peeling skin, especially between your toes and on the soles of your feet
  5. Excessive dryness of the skin on the bottoms or sides of the feet
  6. Nails that are thick, crumbly, ragged, discolored or pulling away from the nail bed

A group of fungi called dermatophytes causes athlete's foot. These organisms sprout tendril-like extensions that infect the superficial layer of the skin. In response to this fungal growth, the basal layer of the skin produces more skin cells than usual. As these cells push to the surface, the skin becomes thick and scaly. Most often, the more the fungi spread, the more scales your skin produces, causing the ring of advancing infection to form.

Also called tinea pedis, ringworm of the foot and dermatophytosis, athlete's foot is closely related to other fungal skin conditions, most with similar names. Tinea is a type of fungus, and pedis is the Latin word for "foot." Other common tinea infections include:

  1. Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis). This form causes a red, scaly ring or circle of rash on the top layer of your skin.
  2. Jock itch (tinea cruris). This form affects your genitals, inner thighs and buttocks.
  3. Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis). This form is most common in children and involves red, itchy patches on the scalp, leaving bald patches.

Risk factors
The organisms that cause athlete's foot thrive in damp, close environments created by thick, tight shoes that can pinch the toes together and create warm, moist areas in between them. Damp socks and shoes increase the risk. Warm, humid conditions that promote heavy sweating favor its spread.

The fungus is carried on fragments of skin or other particles that contaminate floors, mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes, shoes and other surfaces. Plastic shoes in particular provide a welcoming environment for fungal growth and infection. Person-to-person contact is another means of transmission. Even household pets can pass along fungal infections. Although transmission can occur within a household, the infection is more commonly passed along in public areas — locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, communal baths and showers. Not everyone who carries the fungus develops signs and symptoms of athlete's foot.

Vulnerability probably involves a genetic component, but those who are known to be more vulnerable include people with weakened immune systems, for example, people with diabetes or HIV/AIDS. Men are more likely than women to develop athlete's foot.

The fungal infection can create an environment that invites a secondary bacterial infection. By producing an antibiotic substance, the fungus can kill off vulnerable bacteria and favor the overgrowth of hardier, resistant types. In turn, the bacteria release substances that can cause tissue breakdown - soggy skin and painful eroded areas between the toes.

After an episode of athlete's foot, proteins might enter your bloodstream, leading to an allergic reaction that may cause an eruption of blisters on your fingers, toes or hands (dermatophytid reaction).

For mild conditions, your doctor may advise you to apply a prescription or over-the-counter antifungal ointment, lotion, powder or spray. Most infections respond well to these topical agents, which include:

  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil AT)

If your fungal infection is severe or doesn't respond to topical medicine, your doctor may give you a prescription oral medication. Oral medications include:

  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), oral Sporanox and oral Lamisil may be linked to rare cases of liver failure and death. Oral Sporanox may weaken the heart's contractions and shouldn't be prescribed for people with a history of heart failure.

Griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grifulvin), an older oral medication, has been prescribed less often since the introduction of the newer medicines. It's effective, but can take months to clear up the infection.

Your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic if you have an accompanying bacterial infection. In addition, your doctor may recommend wet dressings, steroid ointments, compresses or vinegar soaks to help clear up blisters or soggy skin.


These tips can help you avoid athlete's foot or ease the symptoms if infection occurs:

  1. Keep your feet dry, especially between your toes. Go barefoot to let your feet air out as much as possible when you're home.
  2. Go with natural materials. Wear socks that are made of natural material, such as cotton or wool, or a synthetic fiber designed to draw moisture away from your feet.
  3. Change socks and stockings regularly. If your feet sweat a lot, change your socks twice a day.
  4. Wear light, well-ventilated shoes. Avoid shoes made of synthetic material, such as vinyl or rubber.
  5. Alternate pairs of shoes. This allows time for your shoes to dry.
  6. Protect your feet in public places. Wear waterproof sandals or shower shoes in communal showers, pools, fitness centers and other public areas.
  7. Treat your feet. Use an antifungal powder daily.
  8. Don't borrow shoes. Borrowing risks spreading a fungal infection.

Alternate Treatment to Athete's Foot------> Click Here

Asthma As A Killer Disease

You may not think of asthma as a killer disease. Yet each year, nearly 500,000 Americans with asthma are hospitalized, and more than 4,000 die.

Asthma is a chronic condition that occurs when the main air passages of your lungs, the bronchial tubes, become inflamed. The muscles of the bronchial walls tighten and extra mucus is produced, causing your airways to narrow. This can lead to everything from minor wheezing to severe difficulty in breathing. In some cases, your breathing may be so labored that an asthma attack becomes life-threatening.

But asthma is a treatable condition, and most flare-ups and deaths can be prevented. In recent years, scientists have gained a better understanding of asthma's cause. New drugs have been developed to replace standard medications. Greater emphasis also is now put on managing your own condition, much as people manage their diabetes with insulin. Together, you and your doctor can work to gain control over your asthma, reduce the risk of severe attacks and help maintain a normal life.

You're more likely to develop asthma if you have an inherited predisposition to the condition and are sensitive to allergens or irritants in your environment. In fact, the inflammation that causes asthma makes your airways overly sensitive to a wide range of environmental triggers.

Asthma can develop at any age. If you're younger than 30, your asthma is probably triggered by allergies. Many people older than 30 with asthma are also allergic to airborne particles.
For some people with asthma, particularly older adults, respiratory allergies don't seem to play a role. Instead, exposure to any irritant — such as a virus, cigarette smoke, cold air, and even emotional stress — can trigger wheezing

In most cases though, asthma results from a combination of allergic and nonallergic responses. You may react to one or more of the following triggers:

  • Allergens, such as pollen, cockroaches and molds.
    Air pollutants and irritants.
    Smoking and secondhand smoke.
    Respiratory infections, including the common cold.
    Physical exertion, including exercise.
    Cold air.
    Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
    Sulfites — preservatives added to some perishable foods.
    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your esophagus. GERD may trigger an asthma attack or make an attack worse.


A number of individual medications exist for asthma, and many are used in combination with others. Your doctor can help you decide which option is best for you based on your age and the severity of your symptoms. In general, the four types of treatments are:

Long-term-control medications. These are used on a regular basis to control chronic symptoms and prevent attacks.
Quick-relief medications. You use these as needed for rapid, short-term relief of symptoms during an attack.
Immunotherapy or allergy desensitization shots. These decrease your body's sensitivity to a particular allergen.
Anti-IgE monoclonal antibodies. These are designed to prevent your immune system from reacting to allergens.

Click here for More articles on Asthma and Acute Bronchitis

Terrorism and Other Public Health Threats

Air Contamination

. An accident at a plant or factory might release large amounts of a hazardous chemical into the air, for instance. A terrorist attack could involve the deliberate release of a toxic chemical or gas.

In a bioterror attack, bacteria or viruses causing diseases such as anthrax, pneumonic plague, smallpox, or tularemia could be released in an aerosol form. Anyone who inhaled the substance could be affected.

While air itself does not become radioactive, release of radiation into the environment can create radioactive dust and dirt (fallout) that can make the air unsafe. A “dirty bomb” could work in this manner, causing a relatively minor explosion but doing its real damage by releasing radioactive materials into the environment.

Allergies reach epidemic levels in Europe: experts

Fri Mar 31 ~ Reuter
Allergies such as hay fever are reaching epidemic proportions in Europe and a failure to treat them properly is creating a mounting bill for society and the healthcare system, experts said on Friday.
Around one third of the European population has some kind of allergy, while one in two children in Britain will have allergies by 2015, costing millions of euros in medical bills, lost work days and even impaired concentration in school pupils.
Experts say various factors such as air pollution, animal fur and dust mites could act as triggers for allergies but that the levels of allergic reaction vary from country to country.

"There is an epidemic of allergic disease in Europe and elsewhere in the world," Peter Burney, vice president of research at the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GALEN), told reporters on Friday.
Allergies were most prevalent in Britain and Ireland, as well as other English speaking countries like Canada, Australia and the United States, Burney said, adding they were also becoming more widespread in new European Union' member states.

"It's not a problem which is going to go away soon," he added, noting that as allergy sufferers get older the complications resulting from their condition tend to get worse.
"We have data showing that up to the age of 55, people do not lose their allergies, but that the complications are greater," he said. "This is a serious problem."

Failure to treat allergies could also increase the risk of patients developing asthma later in life, GALEN's general secretary Torsten Zuberbier said, calling for early diagnosis and treatment of sufferers.
"We have valid data that one third of European Union people have allergies but only 10 percent of these millions of people are treated well," Zuberbier said, adding that around 40 percent of children with untreated hay fever will develop asthma.
"We need early treatment in children and we can avoid the large burden of social and economic costs
," he said.

The GALEN network has established standard practice across Europe in diagnosing allergies and it has now begun to draw up guidelines on how best to treat the conditions.

IS Your Office Killing You ?

Indoor Pollution Facts

"Indoor Air is up to 100 times worse than Outdoor Air". American College of Allergists
"50% of all illness is caused by indoor air pollution." United States Environmental Protection Agency
"Indoor Air Pollution is American's most serious environmental health problem affecting humans." USA TODAY
"Indoor Air Pollution is wide spread. You are more likely to get sick from pollution in your home and office than from pollution in the air outside." The American Lung Association
"Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Now the leading chronic illness among children, asthma, affects one in ten children." Yale School of Medicine
"It's hard to come up with another problem that affects more people than indoor air pollution". Brian Leaderer, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Saturday Reader
"Lost productivity associated with indoor air pollution costs businesses an estimated $60 billion per year." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
"Indoor air pollution is one of our biggest environmental health threats - bigger than toxic waste sites, the destruction of the ozone layer and a slew of other problems." Wall Street Journal
Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) call indoor pollution the number one environmental health problem in America. Today, 90% of colds are caught indoors…only 10% outdoors. Indoor air can be up to 10 times as polluted as outdoor air.
When you don't breathe bad stuff indoors your immune system can recover and get stronger to better fight off the bad stuff outdoors. Common Sense
ASTHMA/ALLERGIES/MCS...lots of talk...lots of money spent...lots of ongoing the case of Asthma, too many deaths...and, with MCS, too many Emergency Room trips...yet very little effort to ELIMINATE THE CAUSE...but, lots of people put forth lots of effort to TREAT THE SYMPTOMS. Environmental testing is not needed for improving the Asthma/Allergy/MCS problem because a lot of the triggers for these scourges are inside every tightly sealed building...or rather every building that doesn't have sufficient fresh air inside.

Elimination of the cause of these scourges is VERY SIMPLE in most fact it's so simple, quick and INEXPENSIVE that's probably why it doesn't get much attention or gets ridiculed. It all starts with germs and/or allergens which are naturally present in our air. Nature sanitizes outdoors for us via sunlight, ionization, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and ozone from the UV rays and from lightning. So those who work outdoors benefit by generally being healthier than those who work indoors.
But, those who are cooped up indoors in buildings sealed with deadly precision are now under constant attack, or rather their immune system is. And, the result is Asthma, Allergies and MCS. And, part of the explanation for the increased incidence of these scourges is that Americans are now spending about 90% of our time indoors in that unhealthy might not smell or look bad but it's me, it's bad! It's been reported that indoor air has more chemicals in it than were found in a well equipped chemistry lab in 1900. So the fix is really VERY SIMPLE...get Fresh Air indoors to sanitize for us! [Notice I didn't say FILTER the inside air...that won't eliminate the cause; NO filter exists that can strain out all the bad stuff]. We can't open our doors and windows to let Fresh Air in, but that's OK. What we can do is use the latest electronic technology like NASA uses in its spacecraft. The chart above shows just how effective Electronic Fresh Air is at KILLING Bacteria and Fungi. Astronauts don't get sick while cooped up in their spacecraft...why should you get sick while cooped up at home or work? Fresh air inside in three days or less..."Technology Wins Again".

EPA Statistics: 5% of Nations Air Pollution

"Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. Garden equipment engines, which have had unregulated emmissions until very recently, emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, producing up to 5% of the nation's air pollution and a good deal more in metropolitan areas.
A conventional lawn mower pollutes as much in an hour as 40 late model cars (or as much as as much air pollution as driving a car for 100 miles)."

In a single day, Southern California's lawn tools spew out more pollution than all the aircraft in the Los Angeles area. A single mower puts out more pollution than 73 new cars. CNN Onine

Toxic Air Pollutants

EPA has released an important tool to guide further local, state and federal steps to cut toxic air pollution and build upon the significant emissions reductions achieved since 1990. The second National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) is a state-of-the-science screening tool that estimates cancer and other health risks from exposure to air toxics.

"Since 1990, we've significantly cut toxic emissions and risks in the United States," said Acting EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum. "This tool will help EPA and states refine our understanding and approaches to further reduce air toxics. With strong industrial standards already in place, our efforts to cut risks from toxic pollution will rely on more advanced technology, more sophisticated analysis, and enhanced cooperation among federal, state and local agencies."

The United States has made significant progress in reducing air toxics from industry, fuels and vehicles, and indoor sources. Since the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, EPA has issued 96 standards for 174 different types of industrial sources of air toxics, including chemical plants, oil refineries, aerospace manufacturers and steel mills. The agency also has issued regulations for 15 categories of smaller sources, such as dry cleaners, commercial sterilizers, secondary lead smelters and chromium electroplating facilities. Together, these standards are projected to reduce annual emissions of air toxics by about 1.7 million tons from 1990 levels when fully implemented. These reductions are not fully reflected in this assessment, however, because a number of these regulations took effect after 1999.

Vehicles and fuels also emit air toxics. EPA's current and future fuels and vehicles programs will reduce air toxic emissions by another 2.4 million tons in 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

NATA is not designed to be used as the sole basis for regulatory action. The results of the assessment, however, will help EPA and state and local air quality regulators identify pollutants and sources of greatest concern and set priorities for addressing that pollution. NATA also will help identify areas where EPA needs to collect additional information to improve the understanding of risks from air toxics exposure.

NATA covers 177 of the Clean Air Act's list of 187 air toxics plus diesel particulate matter. For 133 of these air toxics (those with health data based on chronic exposure) the assessment includes estimates of cancer or non-cancer health effects including non-cancer health effects for diesel particulate matter.
EPA develops NATA in cooperation with state and local environmental agencies, which provide key information about air toxics emissions.

The assessment estimates that in most of the United States people have a lifetime cancer risk from air toxics between 1 and 25 in a million. This means that out of one million people, between 1 and 25 people have increased likelihood of developing cancer as a result of breathing air toxics from outdoor sources, if they were exposed to 1999 levels over the course of their lifetime (70 years). The assessment estimates that most urban locations have an air toxics lifetime cancer risk greater than 25 in a million. Risk in transportation corridors and some other locations is greater than 50 in a million. In contrast, one out of every three Americans (330,000 in a million) will develop cancer during a lifetime, when all causes (including exposure to air toxics) are taken into account.

The second NATA expands on EPA's first national-scale assessment with a more complete emissions inventory and the latest health effects information. The first assessment, based on 1996 data, was release in 2002. The methods used for the assessments were peer-reviewed and endorsed by EPA's Science Advisory Board in 2001.

EPA plans to develop new national-scale assessments as inventory data from subsequent years become available. The next such analysis will focus on exposure and risks from 2002 emissions.
Prevent from polluted air>>

Pesticides and Child Safety

Every 15 seconds U.S. poison centers receive a call about someone being exposed to a poison. Forty percent of those cases involve a child under three. According to the National Safety Council, more than 50 percent of over two million poisoning incidents each year involve children under six years of age. These figures show the need for everyone to lock up household pesticides and chemicals in a high cabinet out of the reach of children.

EPA observes National Poison Prevention Week each year to increase awareness of the danger to children of accidental poisonings from pesticides and household products, and to encourage parents and caregivers to lock up products that could potentially harm children.
In most poisonings, children swallow common substances found around almost every home: prescription drugs, non-prescription pain killers, vitamins, cosmetics, and personal care and cleaning products. These poisonings also involve house plants, vegetable, fruits, tobacco products, and alcohol.
California emissions rules lauded
March 17, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS A government-sponsored report backs California's role in setting tough standards on smog-forming emissions from cars, trucks and construction vehicles. The state's approach is scientifically valid and necessary in the quest for cleaner air, researchers said yesterday.
Acknowledging substantial progress in reducing emissions, the National Academies' National Research Council also said more needs to be done to meet federal air-quality standards in many parts of the country.
California began regulating pollution before the federal government did. Under the Clean Air Act, the state has the power to set its own vehicle pollution standards. Among the other states that have put in place California's rules are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
"California has used its authority as Congress envisioned: to implement more aggressive measures than the rest of the country and to serve as a laboratory for technological innovation," the report said.
The auto industry and environmentalists, which have fought over California's strict requirements, kept close watch on the review, which Congress ordered in 2003. Automakers have said the state's rules add considerable cost for consumers and that the federal standards for nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons are stringent. Environmentalists worried that lawmakers might use the study to restrict states' abilities to follow California regulations.
"State initiatives were the kick in the pants automakers needed to produce the cleanest cars on the market today," said Michelle Robinson, Washington director of the Clean Vehicles Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The report does not recommend giving the Environmental Protection Agency the power to stop states from following California's standards. Instead, it encourages the agency to give states more guidance on the benefits of the federal rules.
Automakers noted that the study recognized that vehicles have become cleaner since the 1970s. Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said it also recommended that the EPA "become more involved in helping states understand the complexities of the regulations and the benefit of the regulations."
David Allen, chairman of the council committee that produced the report, said manufacturers described the costs associated with complying with both California and federal standards. But it was difficult for the committee to quantify those costs, said Mr. Allen, a professor of chemical engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
When the California Air Resources Board revises or sets an emission standard, it must seek a waiver from the EPA. The study recommended that the agency speed up waiver requests it considers routine and put a time limit on more contentious decisions.

Clean Air Threatens Rural Folk

Air pollution comes from many different sources such as factories, power plants, dry cleaners, cars, buses, trucks and even windblown dust and wildfires. Air pollution can threaten the health of human beings, trees, lakes, crops, and animals, as well as damage the ozone layer and buildings. Air pollution also can cause haze, reducing visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. EPA protects human health and the environment through the regulatory process and voluntary programs such as Energy Star and Commuter Choice. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA sets limits on how much of a pollutant is allowed in the air anywhere in the United States. Although national air quality has improved over the last 20 years, many challenges remain in protecting public health and the environment. EPA's goal is to have clean air to breathe for this generation and those to follow.
There are many sources of air pollution, including automobiles, power plants, factories, small businesses and household products. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA develops and enforces rules and regulations for all entities that emit toxic substances into the air. The Agency works with state, local and tribal governments, other federal agencies, businesses and community groups to implement and enforce its regulations. EPA also partners with scientists to study the causes and effects of pollution and to develop environmentally beneficial alternatives to pollution-generating processes.

EPA’s Folk Theory of Clean Air Threatens Rural America

In a proposal that “drew praise from the mining industry”,
the EPA recently suggested we all stop worrying about air quality in America’s less populous areas, instisting that dust from those fruited plains and majestic mountains can’t possibly hurt you, as if the only air pollution in the world was the black stuff from tailpipes and smokestacks. But how can the experts at EPA harbor these quaint notions about air pollution when we know what farming does to air (and water), and mining is famous for the debris it kicks up? Maybe they need some re-education, starting with EWG’s work on air quality, here.
New York Battles EPA for Household Chemical Records

New York state is suing the EPA for its refusal to release information on the smog-causing properties of some common household chemicals. Smog-heavy states like New York and California need the records to plan for reducing pollution in order to meet their stringent Clean Air Act requirements. Per ususal, the companies under fire, like paint-maker Sherwin-Williams, say the information can't be released because it's trade secrets.
Volatile organic compounds, the smog-forming components found in household products like paint and varnish, may also contribute to increased asthma rates. Last year EWG released "Smoggy Schools," a report on what air pollution costs California measured in missed school days and children's medical expenses.

Food Pollution

Food pollution

Food can influence the human body in many ways, both positively and negatively. Several key elements of contemporary food cultivation and production are presented, along with their potential consequences to our health. The history of food cultivation and consumption is contrasted between early hunter-gatherer societies and modern day societies. Natural nutrient-rich foods produced from the soil in early societies have been replaced with artificial supplements and treated with pesticides and herbicides to control plant disease. The World Labor Organization state that the usage of agricultural chemicals and pesticides has dramatically increased from 65 million tons to more than 400 million tons in a short span of year.
US Food & Drug Association (FDA) issued several reports in 2005 indicating that, in every 150,000 cancer patients, 25% of them are affected by cancer causing agricultural chemicals.

Heavy antibiotics in farming causing super-diseases

Last year, reports surfaced of a super-strain of food-borne salmonella that's resistant to most forms of drug treatments. Some strains are resistant to all known treatments, and other common food-borne diseases also are getting more difficult to treat. Organizations like the
Union of Concerned Scientists say the cause is the heavy use of antibiotics in farming not to protect against disease, but as a cheap and easy way to speed up animal growth.

Fish becoming too toxic to eat

In the past, perch, bass, catfish, trout and walleye have been contaminated with toxic levels of PCBs, lead, cadmium and pesticides. And virulent bacterium and natural toxins can thrive in raw oysters, clams and mussels. If you're pregnant, you might want to avoid fish and raw shellfish. But the
Environmental Working Group offers a startling suggestion that several other commonly sold fish should be avoided entirely if pregnant, and that you should eat still others on a limited basis only. This list includes tuna, halibut, sea bass, cod, pollock, and mahi mahi. See a CNN report on possible effects of too much tuna on developing fetuses.
Consumer Association of United States report indicates that if a child consume too much of contaminated foods, the nervous system can be affected and damaged.

Create a Healthy Living Environment

Air Pollution

The quality of the indoor environment depends largely on "what's in the air." The presence of airborne pollutants can cause health problems for the home and office occupants. It is important to realize that the most effective, and usually least costly, methods to limit indoor pollutants are. US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) report indicate that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor.

Source control

Find out where the pollutants come from, what they consist of, and reduce or eliminate these sources. This task can involve actions such as controlling moisture, reducing mold growth, choosing "low emission" furnishings and coatings, and/or reducing dust, moisture or smoke producing activities indoors.

Home, offices or any enclosed area need to have a sufficient amount of outdoor air to dilute and remove pollutants and moisture that are produced indoors, and to supply combustion devices (and occupants) with oxygen. The amount of fresh air that is brought in is limited by the cost of heating or cooling the outside air.
If air quality is still a problem after attending to source control and ventilation, especially with respect to dust, smoke, mold and bacteria, an air cleaner may be of help. In terms of health effects, dust particle size is of great importance. Particles smaller than about 10 microns in diameter are the most problematic from a health standpoint, so it is most important for an air cleaner to remove these.

About Air Cleaner Performance

The buyer may be confronted with a variety of manufacturers’ claims about the performance and "efficiency" of various units. Several different performance standards exist, relating to different jobs that different filters are supposed to do. Some of this information may mislead buyers seeking the control of fine particulates. For example, a good performance on an efficiency test that measures the capture of large particles does not mean that small particles will be controlled.
For instance, furnace filters are rated according to the ASHRAE 52.1-76 standard, which can show a high "efficiency" at capturing dirt, but which has no relevancy to fine particles. A revised standard, ASHRAE 52.2, seeks to remedy this.