How New Carpets Can Make You Sick

blog“New” can be a wonderful scent.  A new leather coat, new car, fresh coat of paint, new wood furniture.  Ah, nothing quite like it the scent from any of them.

Then again, some household odors, even when associated with “new,” aren’t nearly as inviting – in particular, the scent given off by new carpeting and padding.

If you’ve ever bought carpeting, you know exactly what smell we’re talking about.  It’s one that can last for weeks or months, and usually comes from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and other air pollutants that are used in the manufacturing process.

“Off gassing” is a serious health hazard that can trigger asthma and other adverse reactions like fatigue, skin rashes or breathing problems.

Since 1993 the carpet industry has required manufacturers to label their products with health advisory warnings like this one:  “Some people experience allergic or flu-like symptoms, headaches, or respiratory problems, which are associated with the installation, cleaning or removal of carpeting.”

Here are a few pointers to help you eliminate or minimize the potential effects of off-gassing the next time you buy carpeting:

  • blog2Look for the Green Label that indicates a product meets minimum health and safety 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 following installation.
  • Make sure the installers seal the 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.

At Optimum Air, we are indoor air quality specialists who can do even more to help you maintain a pollutant-free indoor living environment all year long.  For more information or to schedule a free in-home consultation, call our office today.