Carpet and Your Health

The impact of what flooring choices you make in your home and how it affects your health and safety is an active area of scientific research.

The recent studies on this subject have revealed some interesting results. While the common belief that carpet harbors contaminants that can cause allergic reactions is true, a well cleaned and maintained carpet may actually work as a filter for these airborne allergens.

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has a number of very interesting studies that Action Carpet Care thinks you should be aware of.

Here are 3 of the studies you might find interesting when deciding on new floor surfaces:

* The first is a study done in 23 countries that looked at individuals that had carpeted and non-carpeted bedrooms to determine in which type of rooms people have less allergic reactions. The study revealed that individuals who had carpeted bedrooms had lower allergic reactions to contaminants in the air than did those with non-carpeted bedrooms!

* The second study examined asthmatic children in carpeted schools, non-carpeted schools, carpeted bedrooms and non-carpeted bedrooms. Researchers found that those children that had carpeted bedrooms had much less severe symptoms and used less medication than all three of the other groups.

* The third study looked at the protective influences of carpet in bedrooms for those children who suffer from asthma. Researchers again found that the filter-like capabilities of carpet in the bedroom allowed the children to use lower levels of medication to deal with their asthma than children in non-carpeted bedrooms.

The current evidence shows that some aspects of carpets can benefit the health and safety of occupants, while other aspects can contribute to illness and injury. Based on the currently available data and professional judgment, the
National Center for Healthy Housing offers the following recommendations regarding maintaining, cleaning, and replacing carpets to promote a healthy home environment:

1) Avoid installing wall-to-wall carpeting in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, or other damp areas. Choose area rugs in these rooms instead and wash them frequently, or use hard flooring with
non-skid features. Choose water-resistant floors in basements, below-grade rooms or slab-on-grade construction, where moisture is a potential problem.
• Consider not installing wall-to-wall carpeting in a bedroom for a person who has asthma or allergies, especially a person who is sensitive to pet dander and dust mites.

2) If you have carpeting, purchase a quality vacuum that has a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter or high efficiency filter and use it weekly or at least every other week. Multiple passes with the vacuum are recommended. One minute per square yard of carpet is a good starting point. More time may be
needed for very dirty carpet, shag carpet, or those with thick pile.

Bottom line, carpet can still be a healthy choice as long as it is maintained correctly.