Carpet and Health
Fact: Carpet keeps allergens from becoming airborne.
Carpet holds allergen-causing substances tightly and, as a result, keeps them from becoming airborne, minimizing their level in the breathing zone; this translates to lower exposure potential. The allergens held by carpet’s filter-like effect may be removed by vacuuming, thereby refreshing the filter-like properties of the carpet to allow more material to be removed from the air. Vacuuming carpet once or twice a week removes allergens, including dust mite feces – a known source of allergen. It is important to use an efficient vacuum cleaner – central system or a machine with a HEPA filter – to minimize re-suspending allergens.
In Carpet and Airborne Allergens, A Literature Review, Dr. Alan Luedtke refers to the results of a study aimed at determining the effect of routine vacuuming cleaning; the findings indicate frequent vacuum cleaning, even for a short period of time, significantly reduces house dust and mite allergen levels in carpets. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies prove the effectiveness of carpet in reducing airborne particles.
Please refer also to the article on the German Allergy and Asthma Society study.
Fact: There is no link between carpet usage and the incidence of asthma or allergies.
Comparison data from Sweden supports that there is no link between carpet usage and the increase in asthma or allergies. We are not aware of any published scientific research demonstrating a link between carpet and asthma or allergies.
A study, based on historical figures for ten years, was reported by scientists at the Swedish Institute of Fibre and Polymer Research. They found that while the use of carpet in Sweden had steadily decreased since 1975, the occurrences of allergic reactions in the general population had greatly increased.
Please refer to the graph accompanying the article on Carpets and Allergies in Sweden.
Fact: Mould can occur on any surface.
Mould exists ONLY where there is excess moisture and dirt, coupled with poor cleaning and maintenance habits. Mould growth can occur on any surface – from windowpanes to carpet – that is not properly maintained and when moisture is present. Eliminating sources of excessive moisture (such as water leaks) and controlling humidity greatly offset the potential for mould to grow.
In a study conducted by HOST/Racine Industries, six Florida schools were checked for indoor air problems triggered by high humidity and reduced ventilation. Dust-lined ducts and plumbing leaks onto ceiling tiles had allowed mould to grow and release millions of spores into the air. The research supported that mould is not associated with a particular surface such as carpet.
Fact: Formaldehyde is not used in the production of new carpet.
Formaldehyde is not used in the carpet manufacturing process; it is therefore not emitted from new carpet.
An article published in 1989 in the American Textile Chemist and Colorists Journal stated that research conducted by the School of Textile Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, under Dr. Wayne Tincher and other researchers, dispelled this widely-held myth.
Fact: Latex used in carpet is synthetic.
The latex that holds the fibres and backing together in carpet is synthetic. Synthetic latex is not associated with the allergic reactions to natural latex, which are caused by the proteins found in natural latex.
Carpet is made primarily of the same innocuous materials found in clothing and other everyday fabrics, including polypropylene and nylon.
Fact: Carpet does not present a risk of indoor air quality (IAQ) problems.
An extensive toxicological assessment of components and emissions from carpet concluded that the chemicals in carpet “present no health risks of public health concern.” Allergens in carpet can also be removed by vacuuming.
Most new interior furnishings and building materials emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for a period of time. Emissions from new carpet are among the lowest of any household’s indoor furnishings, and those VOCs dissipate within 48 hours – even faster with good ventilation. To further minimize other IAQ concerns, specify low-emitting products, including CCI Green Label approved carpet, when selecting household products and furnishings.
In 1994, Environ Corporation of Arlington, Virginia, produced a study, Safety Assessment of Components of and Emissions from Carpets. The conclusion was: “For the chemicals identified as being present in, but not emitted from carpet, there is no reason to believe that they present any health risk of public concern. For chemicals identified as being from carpet, no cancer risk of public health concern is predicted for any chemical individually, or when the predicted upper limit on risk is added for all potential carcinogens. Similarly, no non-carcinogenic effects of public health concern would be anticipated.”