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From September 1 this year the European Union will ban the import of vacuum cleaners with motors that exceed 1,600 watts. This, the EU says, will not impact on their effectiveness but will save energy and thus consumers money. Moreover, from 2017 the EU has determined that the maximum noise level of a vacuum cleaner imported into Europe will be limited to 80 decibels. According to the UK consumer magazine Which?, if the noise level restriction was to be introduced at the same time as the ban on powerful motors, it would wipe out more than 90% of the upright vacuum cleaner market. So is the next step back to the broom and dustpan for Europeans?

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