Do Carpets Really Make Allergies Worse?

Many Americans worry that carpets can contribute to allergies and asthma, but studies suggest that it’s time to sweep those worries under the rug.

Allergens exist in every home. When inhaled, these allergens can cause an immune system response, which manifests as watery eyes, a runny nose, sinus congestion, conjunctivitis or hives. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common problem in children and adults. But the problem does not lie with carpeting. In 2002, Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina investigators studied two North Carolina schools — one with tile floors, and one with tcarpetst. The study found that airborne allergens existed in higher concentration in the school with tiles.

The Truth About Allergies and Carpet

<b>The Truth About Allergies and Carpet</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many Americans worry that carpets can contribute to allergies and asthma, but studies suggest that it’s time to sweep those worries under the rug.

Allergens exist in every home. When inhaled, these allergens can cause an immune system response, which manifests as watery eyes, a runny nose, sinus congestion, conjunctivitis or hives. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common problem in children and adults. But the problem does not lie with carpeting. In 2002, Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina investigators studied two North Carolina schools — one with tile floors, and one with carpets. The study found that airborne allergens existed in higher concentration in the school with tiles.

Why? Carpet can hold a large amount of soil before it looks dirty. While it traps dust and dirt, it also holds potential allergens like mold spores and dander. Allergens cannot cause symptoms unless they become airborne and are able to be inhaled. Serving as a filter, carpet doesn’t allow allergens to enter back into the air. Once trapped, allergens can be easily removed with vacuuming and steam cleaning.

In a recent paper, Dr. Mitchell Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT, wrote that “with respect to asthma and allergies, multiple studies have reported fewer allergy and asthma symptoms associated with carpet.”

In addition to allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may still cause some people concern about their carpets, but scientific evidence suggests that carpets emit very few chemical irritants. According to a study by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), carpet VOCs reduce so quickly that they do not pose a health threat. If concerned, consumers should look for low-VOC carpets like those made by Shaw Floors, which meet the CRI’s Green Label Plus standard, the most stringent standard in the industry for low levels of VOCs.

For more information, visit www.shawfloors.com/allergens.

New Survey Helps Consumers Improve Their Eco-Awareness

<b>New Survey Helps Consumers Improve Their Eco-Awareness</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – At some point in their life, nearly everyone will take a step back to admire a newly painted or carpeted room in their home or that brand new car in their driveway. In fact, according to a recent survey, three-quarters of respondents admit that they love that “new car” smell, and more than two in five say they enjoy the smell of new carpeting. But as enjoyable as these smells may be, are people really aware what’s under their noses?

The truth is, the recognizable smell of a new car or fresh coat of paint actually comes from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The new survey, conducted by FLOR, a manufacturer and marketer of design-inspired carpet tiles, found that 91 percent of Americans are concerned about the environment, but only 10 percent say they are familiar with VOCs — and why they are unsafe.

VOCs are harmful gases released by everyday household items, including paint, carpets, cleaning supplies, aerosol sprays, air fresheners and some cosmetics. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air consistently contains 10 times the amount of VOCs as outdoor air. Given that Americans typically spend 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors, many people face prolonged exposure. The problem? VOCs can lead to asthma and other respiratory problems.

While an overwhelming majority, 91 percent, of respondents expressed concern about the environment, 61 percent reported that they throw unwanted carpet in the trash or place it on the curb for someone to take, according to the recent FLOR survey. What people fail to realize is that it can take 50 years for wool to break down in a landfill, and 250,000 years for man-made fibers, like nylon and carpet backing, to completely decay.

The FLOR survey also uncovered that a small percentage of people actually opt for some of these other disposal solutions, with only 15 percent of consumers choosing to recycle their old carpeting, and 25 percent choosing to donate it to others. But, FLOR is doing its part to offer people a more responsible alternative. Consumers can participate in the company’s environmental efforts through FLOR’s Return & Recycle Program, where old FLOR tiles can be returned to be recycled into new product. Many FLOR products contain renewable or recycled materials and meet the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus standard for VOC emissions.

“FLOR has always been a believer in providing smart solutions for the home,” says Greg Colando, president, FLOR. “We want to help consumers understand the range of eco-friendly issues and products out there when it comes to renovating or updating home décor.”

For more information, visit www.FLOR.com.