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Chemicals in Carpeting?

How Many Chemicals in Carpeting?

Clean the Air for Me: Baby Bentrup by paparutzi

Clean the Air for Me: Baby Bentrup by paparutzi

How many chemicals in carpeting? When you are lying in that plush wall to wall carpeting, you are not thinking “Hey, how many chemicals are in carpeting?”  It is not whether carpeting has chemicals; it’s how many, and how do they affect your health? Really, do you know anyone that has ever asked themselves:  how many chemicals are in carpeting?

Chemicals in Carpeting Include Neurotoxins

Carpeting is said to have 120 neurotoxins in them.  Neurotoxins sound really bad for you so let’s  look that one up for all of us.  According to bio “Neurotoxins are toxins that target the nervous system and disrupt the signaling that allows neurons to communicate effectively. Some neurotoxins achieve this by interrupting the ion channels, while other neurotoxins inhibit the signaling molecules that propagate the action potential from one neuron to the next. ”   Neurotoxins  go through the blood/brain barrier attacking your central nervous system. The blood/brain barrier works to protect the brain. While I cannot find a comprehensive list, many are listed and the reasons they are used.

Chemicals In Carpeting:  Some of the 120+ Neurotoxins that Affect You:

  1. Toulene
  2. Xykene
  3. Benzene:  Human Carcinogen
  4. Styrene:  Suspected Carcinogen
  5. 4 Phenylcyclohexene (4pc) give the “new carpet smell”  causes eye irritation,skin rashes, respiratory problems.
Chemicals in Carpeting

Chemicals in Carpeting

Carpeting has chemicals to:  keep mold and bacteria growing (ant-fungal & anti-bacterial); stain proofing; made from petroleum fibers, and treated with bleaches, dyes, stain protectant and antistatic solutions.  Many of these substances are banned by FDA as not approved for contact with human skin.  Instead, we have babies crawling and toddlers playing with toys on  carpeting.  Does disease start early from environmental exposure?

Chemicals in Carpeting:  Formaldehyde and Other Cancer Causing VOCs

Here are some of the VOCs (volatile organic compounds known to be in carpeting.  4 pheny cyclophexene, toulene and styrene.  Formaldehyde can also be found in the carpeting itself and/or the backing.  These VOCs can cause:  respiratory tract irritation, headaches and dizziness.  Some of these are suspected carcinogens.  Throw in a cigarette smoking near the carpeting and the carpet has wicked up the 69 known carcinogens and some of the total 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes.  It is never a good to smoke inside.  Who knows what mold, indoor air pollution, and cigarette do to a young body.

Look What the Cat and Dog Drags In

Other issues with carpeting are the cat and dog will carry substance in on their paws.  Vacuums have a hard time penetrating the thicker, plusher carpeting. This leaves the bad stuff:  dirt mites, mold and milder, bacteria, lead and pesticides deep in the carpeting.  Years ago carpeting was made to be taken out and cleaned. Carpets were cleaned several times a year.   This controlled mold and mildew and other biological contaminants.  It is time to go back of this type of carpet installation.

Time to Get Rid of Your Carpeting

Over time if the carpeting is not replaced, the backing disintegrate and makes a great place for mold, dirt mites etc to take over.  How many years pass before replacing the carpeting?  Chemicals meant to clean the carpet leave residues in the carpet.  More natural cleaners are effective and safer.

 Chemicals in Carpeting Affect The Carpet Installers

In a recent article, carpet installer, (“Carpet Installers Speak Out as the Medical Evidence Mounts”  by Cindy Duehring), David Buechler, North Dakota carpet  installer who has been installing for 25 years complained of getting frequent cold like symptoms, experiencing shortness of breath, getting hoarse, and his sinuses would clog. “I don’t know any other carpet layers whose health isn’t affected by the job in some way,” said David .His doctor also attributes his arthritis due to the fumes of the carpet glues he inhales daily. Chemicals in carpeting affected every carpet installer David knew.

 Chemicals in Carpeting Locked In Air of Our Homes

New building means air tight energy efficient homes.  Nothing leaks out of them.  Old drafty houses have fresh air leaking in.  Indoor air pollution from carpeting and the many chemicals we own cause our houses to be 5 times to 100 times worse that outdoors; especially if you smoke.

Natural rugs made of wool are stain resistant and do not require chemicals.  However, they are expensive.  Consider hardwood flooring or bamboo flooring.  If you must have carpeting, consider having area rugs.

 8 Tips to Buy Healthier Carpeting

1.  Buy low pile carpeting.

2.  Let the manufacturer open the carpet and air out a few weeks before installation.  This is the period of intense concentrated off gassing.

3.  Have the carpeting installed to be removed and cleaned.  Tac-fast (hook and loop method-Velcro) lets the carpeting be removed to be cleaned thoroughly.

4.  Install central vacuum system.

5.  Don’t let babies and small children play on carpeting.  Buy a wool area rug for that purpose.

6.  Run a basement dehumidifier.  Humidity causes mold to grow in the basement.  Mold travels as soon as one opens the door.   It ends up in the furniture and carpeting.

7.  Run air purifiers to remove mold, biological contaminants, and chemicals from the air.

8.  Use a quality hepa vacuum and vacuum frequently.

Moldy Carpeting Regardless of Chemical Retardants

Moldy Carpeting Backing By Amber Got Lost

Time to Weigh the Comfort of Carpeting Against the Health Threat of Chemicals in Carpeting

Carpeting in homes has always made me sick.  Whether it is in a home or office it affects me.  Guess it is time for you to come to your own conclusion.  With many harmful chemicals in carpeting, should you have it in your home?  Now how does mold play into this?  If the house gets humid, carpeting acts like a sponge regardless of the mold resistant products used.  The backing also degrades and works to absorb moisture and becomes a magnet for mold.  many old apartments and hotels with older carpeting just reek with mold.  The owners refuse to replace the carpeting and resort to chemicals to mask the smell adding further to indoor air pollution. Carpeting is nice and soft under your feet.  It keeps your house warmer and it can brighten up a room.  But an awful lot of chemicals in carpeting threaten your health.  Weigh whether it is more important to have soft carpet under your toes or have your health threatened by cancer causing chemicals.

By the time I was done researching this blog, I came up with more and more buried, disturbing information that need to be shared.  There is no more room but it does deal with chemicals in carpeting.  I am left on the edge of my seat also.  Come back and let’s see what happens.

1.  John Hopkins Magazine, 2001 – “Home Sick Home” – Melissa Hendricks

2.  Healthy Home Plus – “To Carpet Or Not to Carpet” – by Christi Graham

3.  Purely Pets – “Carpet of Chemicals” – by Christi Keith


5.  Washington Toxic’s Coalition  “Carpeting  and Children’s Health:  How Flooring Decisions Can Affect Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality


6. Inspired Living:  “Carpet Installers Speak Out as the Medical Evidence Mounts”  by Cindy Duehring

What StopMoldCold Thinks:  Another Reason That You Should Own An Air Purifier:

Air Purifiers clean the air of biological pollutants:  mold, bacteria, dust, pollen, viruses, cigarette smoke, other fungi(which mold is).  Better health for you and the members of your family means eating right, getting enough rest, exercising, having balance, managing stress and breathing fresh air.  Breathing fresh air in your home is ignored. The air you breathe is as important as the food you put in your mouth.  Buy an air purifier today.
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5 responses to “Chemicals in Carpeting?”

  1. This is a lot of excellent advice for folks to consider. New carpeting is as dangerous and toxic as old carpeting, so whenever possible, I agree that it should be dispensed with altogether. And folks should never underestimate the importance of getting a powerful dehumidifier, ioniser and air treatment system for their homes. (And now they know where to come when they’re ready to get one!)

  2. Dustin says:

    I did not know about all these toxic chemicals in carpet and I am a carpet installer.

    • Be careful. The occupational hazards of your job have not been explained. There are many carpet installers that have developed health problems and I hope that will not be you. The next installment will be worth a read and just maybe you will want to move on.

  3. Judy Garcia says:

    Great article Judy. We got rid of all of our carpet when we bought our house. People need to know about this. I am sharing everywhere.

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