Carpet, Asthma and Allergies. Myth or Reality?
We have all heard that the carpet in our homes may contribute to asthma and allergies. What is the truth? Myth or reality?
“While many doctors are still recommending carpet removal to their allergy and asthma patients, they were very open to information about proper carpet care and maintenance as a viable alternative to taking carpet out.”
So before you rip out all the carpet in your home you might want to read the latest (May 19, 2008) and most comprehensive report on the subject that backs up the CRI’s position on carpet and asthma.
Toxicologist Dr. Mitchell W. Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT has submitted to the International E-Journal of Flooring Sciences a very interesting and comprehensive study that is exploring the controversy surrounding carpet and allergies. The report is found here: Carpet, Asthma and Allergy – Myth or Reality?
If you don’t feel like reading all 15 pages right away then I will share with you the ending:
“In conclusion, a weight of evidence approach to evaluating existing medical and scientific studies is quite clear. Carpet does not cause asthma. VOC emissions from new carpet do not act as triggers for asthma or allergies. Carpet does not increase the incidence or severity of asthma or allergies in children and adults. From the standpoint of asthma and allergies, well maintained carpet is safe.”
Well maintained carpet requires good vacuuming and proper cleaning. For an earlier article about good vacuuming and proper cleaning, please go to Successful Vacuuming and also Carpet Cleaning Explained.
What Asthma and Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid When Cleaning Their Carpets?
Asthma and allergy suffers also need to be sure that the indoor air quality is not adversely impacted during the cleaning process. This means avoiding portable cleaning systems that recycle the contaminated air back into your home and cannot deliver the heat necessary to eliminate dust mites which cause allergies. Low moisture systems that do not actually remove soil at the time of cleaning should also be avoided.
Asthma, Allergies and Carpet Cleaning Chemicals
In addition, the cleaning products used must be fragrance free, hypoallergenic and create no VOCs (Volatile Organic Gases). If the carpet cleaning products have a fragrance or strong odor then that is a indicator that the products can negatively impact the indoor air quality of your home. Products that are Envirodesic Approved or Indoor Air Quality Approved are highly recommended.
D-limonene Carpet Cleaning Chemicals and Health Concerns
Many carpet cleaners use D-limonene based cleaners which are strong solvent based cleaners that have a very strong orange smell. Although it is chemically produced from a natural source (orange peel) and is biodegradable, due to its low flash point, it must be treated as hazardous waste for disposal. D-limonene is a skin and respiratory irritant and is very difficult to rinse completely from the carpet. It can cause serve skin rashes and can also trigger asthmatic attacks.
Natural, Organic and Green has Nothing to do with Indoor Air Quality or Health Safety
This leads to a very important conclusion: ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘green’ does not necessarily mean safe. Green washing is becoming a growing problem. Many organic or green products can adversely impact indoor air quality by releasing VOCs. For an earlier article about indoor air quality please go to An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality. Asthma, allergies and carpet can get along after all. Educated consumers can also now choose professional carpet cleaning that does not negatively impact the indoor air environment of their home.
For additional information please feel free to contact me at Get Fresh Carpet Cleaning in Calgary.