New-Carpet Odors Can Make You Sick!
“New” can be a wonderful scent. A new car with leather interior, a fresh coat of paint, new wood furniture, not to mention the odor of wood fire.
Then again, some new household odors aren’t nearly as inviting. Some can literally make you sick, including the odor that emanates from some new carpet and padding.
That familiar smell, which can last for weeks or months, is mainly caused by the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and other air pollutants that are used in the manufacturing process.
These emissions also are known as “off gassing.” It’s a serious health hazard that can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions. These chemicals are neurotoxins as well as allergens. Carpeting made from plastic or other synthetic fibers may be treated with fire-retardant chemicals that can cause fatigue, skin rashes or breathing problems.
Since 1993 the carpet industry has required industry manufacturers to label their products with a health advisory – when appropriate – indicating that “some people experience allergic or flu-like symptoms, headaches, or respiratory problems, which are associated with the installation, cleaning or removal of carpeting.”
Accordingly, here are a few pointers to help eliminate or minimize the potential effects of off gassing the next time you buy carpeting:
Look for the green label to show that the carpet meets industry standards.
Ask the installer to air out the new carpet for a day or two before installation.
Leave windows open and a fan going for a few days.
Make sure the installer seals seams with a non-toxic adhesive. Glue is another potential source of indoor air pollution.
Vacuum frequently and deep clean annually to avoid triggering other allergic reactions.
Best of all, choose non-toxic carpeting to avoid potential contamination altogether, including varieties made from sustainable materials like sisal, coir, wool, or organic cotton.
Unfortunately, new carpeting and padding aren’t the only causes of indoor air pollution. There are numerous such causes; that’s why indoor air, on average, is twice as polluted as the air outdoors. To help rid your home of harmful pollutants, contact GBT Heating & Cooling today. We offer several whole-house air quality solutions, with one or more just right for you.