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Carpet & Air Quality

How Carpet Contributes to Indoor Air Quality

Clearing the Air

Asthma and allergies:  Although we might not normally associate carpet with improved indoor air quality, it does have a very positive effect. Gravity causes common household particles, such as dust, pollen and pet and insect dander, to fall to the floor.  Carpet fibers trap the particles, reducing their continued circulation in the air.  Proper cleaning with CRI-approved vacuums effectively removes dust and allergens from the carpet, locks them in the machine and helps keep them out of the air we breathe.

A misconception is that people with asthma and allergies should avoid carpet in the home.  But much of today’s carpet is made from harmless materials found in clothing and other everyday fabrics, such as polyester, nylon, triexta, and olefin fibers, which don’t trouble most people.

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Mold and VOC misconceptions: Other misconceptions about carpet involve mold and the emission of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. In fact, it is very hard to grow mold on carpet. Mold grows in any moist environment where dirt and dust provide nutrients.  When carpet is kept clean and dry, mold simply cannot grow on synthetic fibers.

Carpet is also wrongly linked to high VOC levels.  Scientific studies show that new carpet is one of the lowest emitters of VOCs into the indoor environment, and that these emissions dissipate very quickly.  The low-level VOC emissions and the harmless odor from new carpet disappear within the first 48 to 72 hours after installation and even sooner with open windows or doors.

The Carpet and Rug Institute offers Green Label testing and certification to indicate carpet, carpet backings, cushions and adhesives that emit low VOCs.

Reducing the Environmental Footprint

The carpet industry is minimizing carpet’s impact on the environment through the new “3 Rs” which stand for reduce, reuse and recycle.  When carpet reaches the end of its long life, it is reused to make new carpet or is recycled into a variety of products, ranging from roofing shingles and railroad ties to automotive parts.

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