Wall to wall carpeting has an allure particularly for a family home-it is cozy, insulates, is soft and nice to lay on, offers noise reduction and serves as the perfect play yard for little ones. Unfortunately, there are major draw-backs, particularly when you are concerned with environmental friendliness, and even more urgently with the immediate health of your children and family. As with many lovely things found on the market today, most manufacturers are more concerned with finding the cheapest alternatives than making a safe, healthy & "Green" product.
What is so bad about "regular" carpeting? 'Second to paint, carpeting is the leading cause of indoor air pollution' (sited: Organic Baby: Simple Steps for Healthy Living).
They are dangerous from top to bottom:
• The Carpet fibers are made with synthetic petrochemicals & covered with VOC's (volatile organic compounds)
• The backing material are made of reactive compounds and release toxins in the home
• Carpets are colored with chemical dyes
• Adhesives are toxic chemicals
• Pads are made from prime urethane and hydrocarbons
• Layers are treated with flame retardants (including Boric Acid and boric anhydride).
• Stain guards (includes chemicals proven to cause miscarriages, neurological damage & other ailments)
• Include PVC ( Poisonous plastic PVC ) , vinyl & latex materials
• Make sure to remove your shoes and have guests do the same to keep outdoor and other contaminants from getting into your carpet.
If you can not remove the carpet due to time &/or money limitations, you can do the following:
• Steam clean the carpets to kill dust mites and bacteria
• Leave windows open as often as possible.
• Use a HEPA Vacuum cleaner
• Get a great air purifier that removes VOC's (Oreck.com)
• Have lots of great plants-many can actually reduce pollutants (Read a list here: avianweb.com)
Where to buy safe carpeting? Here are some local (D.C area) places to get safe carpeting: