Clearing the Air about Asthma and Allergy

Some people perceive an association between carpet and asthma and allergies. But the weight of scientific information does not support a link. In fact, carpet may even be helpful to people.

Researcher and toxicology expert Mitchell Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT, reviewed 23 U.S. and international scientific studies and concluded in “Carpet, Asthma and Allergies – Myth or Reality,” (PDF 128 KB) Need help with PDF? that carpet’s alleged negative characteristics are not consistent with current research. In fact, he concludes that the literature on carpet and asthma or allergies confirms that children and adults living with carpet do not have an increased incidence of asthma or allergy.

A Dutch study followed a group of asthmatic children from carpeted and uncarpeted classrooms and concluded that carpeted classroom floors did not contribute to asthma symptoms or severity. A 2003 study examined more than 4,000 U.S. elementary students and their parents and found that carpet in classrooms has no adverse effect on student heath and that carpet in a child’s bedroom was associated with lower rates of asthma medication used and school absenteeism.

IMPROVED INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Various airborne particles may trigger allergies for sensitive children and adults. Carpet fibers hold dust, allergens and other particles down in the carpet and out of the air, even with the activity of children. The particles trapped in the carpet then can be easily removed by adhering to a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule that includes vacuuming and periodic extraction cleaning using Seal of Approval certified-products.

MINIMIZING VOCS

Carpet positively affects indoor air quality is the lowest emitter of VOCs of common flooring choices.
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Indoor air quality also involves the emission of volatile organic compound (VOC) levels from building materials. Carpet may emit the lowest levels of VOC among common flooring choices and is one of the lowest emitting products used in new construction and renovation, much lower than products such as paint. The already low VOC emission of new carpet drops significantly after 24 hours, even sooner with fresh air ventilation.

You can be sure you are getting low-emitting carpet, carpet cushion and adhesive products when they carry the CRI Green Label or Green Label Plus. Under these programs, products must pass stringent indoor air quality requirements for low emissions.

A WORD ON MOLD

Clean carpet does not support mold growth even at prolonged and elevated temperatures. The key to eliminating mold indoors is to keep schools clean and dry.

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