Today my friends, I would like to discuss the health hazards of carpets. Over 60% of homes and many businesses in the US have their floors carpeted. Whether the carpets are old or new there is health risks to both. That is what we are going to discuss today.
Let’s start with old carpets and their potential health hazards:
1. Older carpets can sometimes have more contamination than newer carpets. They contain toxic chemicals that have now been banned from the market. Carpets with PVC backing may contain plasticizers that react to moisture and humidity, causing a very unpleasant odor.
2. Older carpets also can accumulate toxins from pesticides sprays, cigarette smoke, and have built up years of dust mites. Most of these toxins come from your shoes or if you have pets–their paws.
3. If you paint the VOC toxins from the paint stay there long after the smell of the paint goes away or do other home improvements that have glues, sealers, and solvents, spray or use foggers for insect control–all these chemicals stay in your carpets even if you clean them regularly. According to the EPA 80% of human exposure to pesticides happens indoors. Older carpets expose you to 10 to 50 times more hazardous chemicals than being in the great outdoors.
Now let’s talk about New Carpets and their potential Health Hazardous:.
1. The U S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) receives many complaints health and odour complaints associated with the installation of new carpets including:
- Sensory and pulmonary irritation
- central nervous system effects
- allergic reactions
2. Almost all carpets is made from synthetic fibers which have been treated with synthetic poisoned chemicals that out-gas into your home. You inhale and absorb all these toxic chemicals, allergens, and toxic dust that can cause many people health problems immediately or in some cases lead to future health problems. It causes very poor indoor air quality.
3. Some of the toxins that are out-gassed are:
- Petroleum by products & synthetics (polypropylene, nylon, acrylic)
- soil & stain repellents
- vinyl or latex
- PVC or 4-PC (which is used in latex backing in 95% of US carpets)
- antistatic sprays
- artificial dyes
- flame retardants
- antimicrobial treatments
4. Some of the known health issues are eye, nose, and upper respiratory problems from PVC. The known carcinogens that are on EPA’s list of Extremely Hazardous Substances such as:
- formaldehyde, ethyl, benzene, styrene, acetone, toluene which can cause hallucinations, nerve damage, and respiratory illness.
- Fire retardants with PBDEs cause damage to the thyroid, immune system, and brain developmental functions in humans.
Children and pets are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects because they inhale carpet fumes at such close range. Now that I have given you some facts on the health hazards you have to decide whether that soft, cozy feeling is worth the risk? I will continue this discussion and give you some ways to help avoid health hazards from carpeting and other alternatives!
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