Thursday, August 4, 2011

Facts About Carpet and Formaldehyde

Facts About Carpet and Formaldehyde

Facts about Carpet and Formaldehyde by Werner Braun

~Formaldehyde in carpet not an issue, says Cleaning Industry Expert

In his July 1, 2011 column for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun talks about the misconceptions many people have about carpet and asthma and allergy symptoms.

In the article titled "Breaking Some Myths About Indoor Carpet", Mr. Braun refers to an online discussion group called “the Healthy Carpet Workgroup” that is examining the role of cleaning and maintenance in keeping carpet clean and indoor air healthy. It's a way for CRI to put its own information “out there” and see what conversations were taking place about carpet. According to the article, one question that was raised concerned carpet and formaldehyde. A response came from Allen Rathey, workgroup leader and cleaning industry expert:

“’To set the record straight on formaldehyde, carpet itself is apparently not a significant source of exposure to this pollutant. According to Air Quality Sciences (AQS) laboratories: ‘Carpet emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as do products that accompany carpet installation such as adhesives and padding … One VOC that is not a concern is formaldehyde, since formaldehyde is not added as an ingredient in the manufacturing process in the United States. In a study where 19 new SBR latex-backed carpets were tested, no formaldehyde emissions were detected.’

Rathey continues by making a few assertions:

1) The carpet industry has improved the makeup and installation of carpet (aided by CRI’s Green Label Program) to greatly reduce if not eliminate most VOC-related health issues for non-sensitive people. Still, proper ventilation is important until off-gassing is complete. (CRI says that VOCs are “virtually undetectable within 72 hours after installation.”) It is unclear how these VOCs may — or may not — affect allergies and asthma, but what is clear is that these VOCs dissipate over time and then apparently become a non-issue.

2) Clean and dry carpet does not create asthma and allergy-related health problems.

3) Health-related issues pertaining to carpet are mainly cleaning and maintenance issues (improper vacuuming, extraction, building moisture or relative humidity levels).”

Thank you, Werner!

~Bethany

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