Carpet can reduce noise, add comfort and warmth, and provide a soft surface for young children to crawl and play on. However, few people realize that our favorite flooring also comes with a number of significant health risks.
Toxic fumes are dangerous for infants and vulnerable people with asthma, migraines allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities or other immune compromised illness. Get a doctor to write into your medical file that you need a chemical free nontoxic home, office or work place and deduct the difference between conventional toxic products and safe products like carpet as a health expense.
Also, keep in mind that Bio-Floor™, offered by Pine Street Natural Interiors, is completely different from almost all of the other wool carpets made today that claim to be eco-friendly and natural. Those products are full of synthetic chemicals whether it is on the face yarns (dyes, mothproofing, and/or stain protection) or in the synthetic backing or adhesive. In addition to being totally free of all synthetic chemicals, all of the rugs offered by Pine Street are carefully chosen to be respectful of not only the environment and the people who purchase our products, but also to those who make the rugs for us. No child labor is ever used for our products and no animals are harmed in any aspect of production.
Some Symptoms from New Carpet Fumes
Increase of smell, moodiness, rash or itching, hair loss, weight loss or gain, flu-like symptoms, aggravated asthma, aggravated allergies, joint pain, muscular aches, abdominal pain, memory loss, poor concentration, nervous system disorders, unusual depression, irritability, twitching and seizures, respiratory tract irritation, menstrual irregularities, sexual dysfunction.
Conventional Regular Carpeting and Dangerous Chemical Fumes
Adhesives 4-PC (4-phenylcyclohexene) and many chemicals such as Styrene come from SB latex backing and create the fumes associated with regular new carpets. These cause headaches, runny eyes and nose and odors persist for months and even years.
After an EPA headquarters incident where hundreds of employees became ill of sick building syndrome, the chemical companies supplying SB latex to the carpet industry coordinated tests to appease the public. Vinyl-backed carpet tiles were tested. They emitted a distinct chemical odor, such as vinyl acetate and formaldehyde. The CPSC study did not find any negative health effects from this, but people breathing the fumes did.
Health complaints associated with carpets include neurological, central nervous system and respiratory problems. Asthma, allergies, multiple, chemical sensitivity (MCS) and environmental illness (EI) are on the increase as people become exposed to low level exposures.
Although some states warn people of the presence of VOCs in carpets, the industry persists in using carpet adhesives and seam sealants, cushions and pads, emitting dangerous toxic chemical fumes. Two pounds per square yard of adhesive is the usual secondary SB backing for most carpets. Some carpets have fabric or polymer secondary backing, attached with a thin coat of SB latex. Backing materials of styrene butadiene latex are highly reactive compounds, made of toxic components: 4-PC, SB Latex, polypropylene or polyurethane. Carpet cushion of bonded urethane, prime urethane, sponge rubber and rubberized jute are cushioning materials. Carpet dyeing, stain resistant Scotchguard™, anti static, anti microbial pesticides all add to the chemical soup and are all detrimental to your health.
Beware the Chemicals Underfoot
As mentioned above, conventional carpets are a major source of toxic chemicals in the home, typically containing well over 100 chemicals in its fiber-bonding material, dyes, backing glues, fire retardant, latex binder, fungicide, and antistatic and stain-resistant treatments. These can 'outgas' for weekseven yearsafter installation. Here is some information of some of the most common chemicals to be found in most of today's carpeting material.
Formaldehyde: Irritating, allergy-producing, neurotoxin, and carcinogenic; can cause insomnia, coughing, headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, and skin rashes. Some of the most irritating and allergenic preservatives contain, release, or break down into formaldehyde. These include 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium 15.
Toluene, Methyl-benzene and Xylene: These are highly toxic petrochemical solvents; eye and skin irritant; carcinogenic; neuro-toxic and may have negative reproductive effects.
Styrene: Health effects from exposure to styrene may involve the central nervous system and include complaints of headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, malaise, difficulty in concentrating, and a feeling of intoxication. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies styrene as a potential human carcinogen. It is also known as vinyl benzene, ethenylbenzene, cinnamene, or phenyl ethylene.
Benzene: Benzene is carcinogenic. Harmful amounts may be absorbed through the skin. It is irritating to mucous membranes and poisonous when ingested. Inhalation of fumes may be toxic. Benzene has been cited by the EPA and OSHA as a threat to public health.
4-phenylcyclohexene: Phenylcyclohexene is known to be very toxic and is a suspected carcinogen. Swelling, pimples, and hives are common. Internal consumption can cause circulatory collapse, convulsions, cold sweats, coma, and death.
Known as 'volatile organic compounds' (VOCs), these are just a few of the nasties that may be lurking beneath your feet and in the air around you.