Is carpeting unhealthy?
If I have carpeting in my home, what should I do to make it healthier for my family?
If you steam clean carpet, be sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid lingering moisture that can attract pests or lead to mold. If possible, replace carpeting when it is worn or heavily soiled, and be sure to clean second-hand rugs before using them.
Should I avoid installing wall-to-wall carpet?
You should avoid wall-to-wall carpet in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, or other areas of a home where moisture is a potential problem. Instead, use hard flooring with non-skid features. Small area rugs, such as bath mats, may be used in these rooms to help protect against slips and falls and for comfort, but they should be washed frequently. Choose water-resistant floors in basements and other rooms that are directly above the ground.
If I decide to remove carpeting, what flooring option should I replace it with?
Consider replacing carpeting with a smooth, non-absorbent, non-skid surface. Hard flooring options to consider include wood, ceramic, linoleum, rubber, marmoleum (a natural floor covering manufactured with linseed oil, wood, flour, resin, jute, and finely crushed limestone and mineral pigments), and wood laminate. There is emerging evidence that some hard flooring (such as vinyl flooring) containing phthalates (a type of plasticizer) may contribute to asthma. These types of floors should be avoided, or at a minimum they should be cleaned regularly with a damp mop to reduce dust. You should also use care when removing carpet to ensure that contaminated dust or allergens in the carpeting are not made accessible to occupants
If I want to install carpet in my home, are there certain types of carpeting that are better for my family?
If you install carpeting, allow the carpeting to thoroughly air out before using the area. Consider buying a carpet that has a Green Label or Green Label Plus from the Carpet Research Institute to reduce exposure to harmful volatile organic compounds that can be used in carpeting or adhesive. Also consider installing low-pile carpet, which is easier to clean than high-pile carpet.
This information was excerpted from a new NCHH fact sheet summarizing the research regarding carpets and healthy homes. To view the complete fact sheet, click here.
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