Friday, April 29, 2011

Carpet, Asthma & Allergy for Retailers, Consumers

Carpet, Asthma & Allergy Fact Sheet for Retailers, Consumers

Choose Cleaner Air. Choose Better Health. Choose Carpet.

~The Facts about Carpet and Asthma and Allergy for Dealers and Consumers

This is the 5th fact sheet in a series of 18. This series of articles is designed to share some of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets.

Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability. Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on asthma and allergy facts for dealers and consumers begins,

“For a long time, there’s been a misconception that carpet exacerbates asthma and allergy symptoms. In fact, the opposite is true. Studies have shown that properly cleaned and maintained carpet not only reduces asthma and allergy problems, it’s actually the best flooring for people who suffer from them.” It continues:

What You Should Know

• There is no scientific study linking the rise of allergy and asthma to the use of carpet. Indeed, several studies actually disprove any correlation.

• A 15-year Swedish study found no link between carpet usage and the incidence of allergy or asthma. In fact, when carpet usage in Sweden decreased by 70 percent, allergy reactions in the general population increased by 30 percent.

• Also, an 18-nation study of nearly 20,000 people found a statistical relationship between carpeted bedrooms and reduced asthma symptoms and bronchial responsiveness.

• One more point: A 2003 study of more than 4,600 school children in New Jersey found that having carpet in a child’s bedroom was associated with fewer missed school days and less need for asthma medication. If carpet helped the children, it can certainly help adults in the same home as well.

• A possible explanation: carpet acts like a filter, trapping allergens away from the breathing zone so they can be removed through proper vacuuming and deep cleaning extraction. For best results removing pollutants trapped in carpet, use CRI Seal of Approval vacuums and CRI Seal of Approval cleaning products and systems. Find out more at carpet-rug.org.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

See the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute Downloadable Fact Sheets

Next – The facts about carpet, asthma and allergies for architects, designers and builders.

~Bethany

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Carpet Offers Comfort, Safety in Schools

Carpet Offers Comfort, Safety in Schools - Karastan HighLine carpet

For All the Right Reasons, Carpet is a Great Choice for Schools - Part 2:

~ Research shows carpet benefits in user comfort and safety, and acoustical performance in Schools. Carpet scores high on health and safety, acoustics and comfort, and environmental benefits.

An article in the March, 2011 edition of the business journal, Commercial Building Products, which serves architects, contractors and building owners in the commercial building market, gives a comprehensive accounting of carpet as a flooring option for schools. The article is written by Keith Gray, director of technical marketing for the Mohawk Group, a Carpet and Rug Institute-member manufacturer that represents the Karastan, Lees, Bigelow, and Durkan brands of commercial carpet.

Titled, “These Factors Drive School Carpet Success,” the article describes how “carpet is a better choice for schools than most commonly used flooring materials.” Among the factors that make it the preferred choice, the article lists sustainability, health concerns, safety issues, ergonomic considerations, and acoustic performance. The previous post in this series, Carpet, Great Flooring Choice for Schools, addressed carpet’s environmental performance and health benefits in a school environment, including new research that shows carpet no more likely to transfer bacteria than hard surface floors.

Today’s post is about carpet’s comfort and safety at school – first, student safety from slip and fall accidents. According to the article, a Michigan State University at Lansing study found that 43% of non-playground accidents at U.S. schools are the result of trip-and-fall accidents which cost an estimated $20 billion dollars per year for medical treatment, plus increasing absenteeism and liability costs.

“Studies indicate that falls are less likely to occur on carpet than on hard surfaces, especially under wet conditions that are often associated with falls. Also, when falls do occur, the likelihood of a serious injury may be lessened because of the potential for some types of carpet to disperse the energy of impact.

“…foot injuries contribute to 15% to 20% of all work-related disabling injuries for teachers. Surveys show that a majority of teachers prefer a carpeted floor, and little wonder. By one estimate, teachers stand as much as 75% of the school day. Tests by an independent laboratory have shown that carpet construction, with and without attached cushion, can have anti-fatigue properties.”

Lastly, on acoustics, the article says;

• carpeted classrooms facilitate better speech recognition, which improves student performance

• carpet's ability to mute background noise can reduce vocal strain and mental fatigue in teachers, because they do not have to speak loudly to be understood.

• carpet has been shown to be most effective at tuning out reverberations associated with loud, sharp, high-frequency sounds, which can result in lapses in concentration and interruption of the learning process

Read the entire article here: “These Factors Drive School Carpet Success”.

Next: an insider’s guide to specifying carpet for schools

~Bethany

Image courtesy of The Mohawk Group

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Carpet, Great Flooring Choice for Schools

Carpet, Great Flooring Choice for Schools: Lees By The Book

For All the Right Reasons, Carpet is a Great Choice for Schools

~ Carpet scores high on health and safety, acoustics and comfort, and environmental benefits. And, new research shows carpet no more likely to transfer bacteria than hard surface floors.

An article in the March, 2011 edition of the business journal, Commercial Building Products, which serves architects, contractors and building owners in the commercial building market, gives a comprehensive accounting of carpet as a flooring option for schools. The article is written by Keith Gray, director of technical marketing for the Mohawk Group, a Carpet and Rug Institute-member manufacturer that represents the Karastan, Lees, Bigelow, and Durkan brands of commercial carpet.

Titled, “These Factors Drive School Carpet Success,” the article describes how “carpet is a better choice for schools than most commonly used flooring materials.” Among the factors that make it the preferred choice, the article lists sustainability, health concerns, safety issues, ergonomic considerations, and acoustic performance.

Under sustainability, the article stresses the importance of proper cleaning and maintenance: “Properly maintained carpeting stays in use and out of the waste stream longer, contributing to lower lifecycle costs. Furthermore, when product, installation, and maintenance supplies and labor costs are considered over a 15-to-20-year period, carpet delivers lower lifecycle costs than other floor covering.”

Mr. Gray also stresses the importance of evaluating a carpet’s overall sustainability, and not basing decisions on a sole product aspect, such as recycled content. Keith suggests architects and builders choose school carpet from the list of products certified under the NSF 140 standard for carpet sustainability. (See related blog posts CRI Sustainability Manager Jeff Carrier and Carpet's NSF 140: Better Than Greeen Building For Indoor Air Quality.)

Unlike most standards, which are single attribute, NSF 140 2007e requires superior performance in multiple environmental areas. It is the first multi-quality, non-proprietary, third-party standard based on lifecycle-assessment principles specifically for carpet. It doesn't look only at recycled content. It is a system with varying levels of certification to define more-sustainable products, allowing a streamlined approach for product evaluation.”

On the issue of carpet and health, interesting new research from the healthcare design industry shows that carpet is no more likely to transfer bacteria than hard surface floors. “One recent study reported that carpet surfaces are no more likely to transmit infections than hard surfaces. In fact, it was suggested that certain hard-surface floors may have higher potential to transmit infections. While no cause could be defined for this observation, one theory proposes that a carpet's textured surface limits hand-surface contact area and that the tendency of carpet to increase the contact time of cleaning solutions allows them to perform more effectively. Further, it has been suggested that carpet appears to sequester biocontaminants, keeping them out of the range of contact for transmission and out of the breathing zone.”

On the related issues of carpet’s effect on asthma and allergy and indoor air quality, the article states: “To date, carpet has not been proven to provoke asthma and/or allergies. Its low VOC levels improve the indoor air quality.

In fact, carpet may emit the lowest levels of VOC among common flooring choices and is one of the lowest-emitting products used in new construction and renovation-much lower than products such as paint. Carpet certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label Plus program emits very low levels of VOCs for very short periods of time and is unlikely to act as an allergy activator.

Quite simply, the science available today concludes that carpet may be less likely to transmit infections than hard-surface floors, does not cause asthma or allergies, and does not increase the incidence or severity of asthma and/or allergy symptoms.”

This article is one of the most comprehensive examinations of how carpet can benefit the school environment I have ever read. I urge everyone to examine the entire article here: These Factors Drive School Carpet Success.

Next post: Carpet in schools: improved acoustic performance, plus benefits to safety and user-friendliness

~Bethany

Image courtesy of The Mohawk Group

Friday, April 22, 2011

Indoor Air Quality for Healthcare Administrators, Facility Managers

Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet for Healthcare Administrators, Facility Managers

CARPET’S CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH

~ The Facts about Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for Healthcare Administrators and Facility Managers - 4th in a series

This series of articles is designed to share some of Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on Indoor Air Quality for healthcare administrators and facility managers begins,

“In any healthcare setting, patient care comes first. That’s why maintaining indoor air quality is paramount. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has conducted scientific research and gathered independent data that show carpet is not only a viable choice for the healthcare industry, it’s the best choice.” It continues:

What You Should Know

• New carpet emits the lowest levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of common flooring choices. Not only is it the lowest-emitting floor covering, it is also one of the lowest-emitting construction and renovation products overall – much lower than products such as paint.

• What low emissions in new carpet there are drop significantly after 24 hours – even sooner with fresh air ventilation.

• Carpet manufacturers were the first in the flooring industry to thoroughly study their products for indoor air quality effects.

• In 1992, CRI became the first organization to set limits on how many VOCs from carpet, adhesives and cushion may be released into the air. Since then, the Green Label Plus program has voluntarily raised IAQ standards four times by requiring even lower emission levels and increasing the number of compounds evaluated.

• CRI also worked with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and Department of Health to certify carpet and adhesives. Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, the low-emitting product testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

• The Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC), a best practices guide for healthy and sustainable building, design, construction and operations for healthcare facilities, specifies the use of CRI-approved carpet.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

See the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute Downloadable Fact Sheets.

Click on this link for the CRI downloadable fact sheet about Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for Healthcare Administrators and Facility Managers.

For previous posts in this CRI Fact Sheets series discussing Indoor Air Quality:

Next – The facts about carpet, asthma and allergies for retailers and residential customers.

~Bethany

Thursday, April 21, 2011

CRI Seal of Approval Milestone: 1000th Service Provider

CRI Seal of Approval Milestone: 1000th Service Provider

Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)'s Seal of Approval Milestone by Werner Braun

In his column titled Seal of Approval Reaches a Milestone in the February 25, 2011 edition of the Dalton, Georgia, Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun shares a proud moment at CRI – the signing of Summit Maintenance Solutions of Tri-Cities Washington as the Seal of Approval program’s 1000th Service Provider.

The CRI Seal of Approval program identifies effective carpet cleaning solutions and equipment that clean carpet right the first time and protect a facility's carpet investment. Carpet cleaning professionals who use Seal of Approval solutions in conjunction with Seal of Approval equipment are eligible to be recognized as Seal of Approval Service Providers.

Summit Maintenance Solutions owner Dennis Torres said he applied for the SOA program in order to demonstrate his commitment to providing his customers with “proven equipment and the safest and most effective chemicals.” The article continues:

“I feel like that’s the moment where the confetti should be thrown — the SOA service program has a reputation for being trustworthy, and customers know that their carpet is being cleaned with nothing but the utmost care. We make sure our customers know that hiring an SOA Service Provider is the best way to ensure that their carpets are being cleaned with quality products.

Seal of Approval Service Providers also make sure your residential or commercial carpet warranties are being met since many major carpet manufacturers are now tying their warranties to the use of Seal of Approval products.

It’s with support from professionals such as Daniel Torres and Summit Maintenance Solutions that CRI’s SOA program has continued to raise the bar on carpet cleaning and maintenance — and that’s an achievement worth a prize.”

Thanks, Werner.

~Bethany

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Carpet: Still Made in USA, Featured on ABC News Series

Carpet: Still Made in USA, Featured on ABC News Series

News Flash: Carpet is Still Made in the United States ~ Mohawk, Carpet and Rug Institute Member Manufacturer, Featured on ABC News’ ‘Made in America’ Series

When I saw that ABC News was airing a special series called “Made in America”,  which set out to furnish a home entirely with products that were produced in the United States, I thought, “Great – they’ll feature carpet.”

With good reason: according to CRI estimates, 98% of all the carpet in use in the U.S. is manufactured in the U.S. That’s an impressive claim, especially when you consider that, for several products in the news series, producers had to search high and low to find a U.S.-made alternative, and in some cases - the coffeemaker, for example - a domestic substitute could not be found. For products such as the kitchen appliances, the American-made versions were significantly more expensive than the imports.

In contrast, U.S.-made carpet and area rugs are available in countless styles and colors, at prices that fit virtually all household decorating budgets.

In redecorating with U.S.-made alternatives, the show’s producers chose a Mohawk area rug for the living and bed rooms. The rugs are from the company’s selection of products made using its SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® fiber. The company issued a press release on being included in the broadcast:

“Mohawk has been manufacturing in America for over 130 years,” said David Duncan, Vice President of Marketing. “The craftsmanship, dedication and commitment to preserving and building upon the Mohawk heritage are very important to us, and make us who we are as a company.”

According to the press release, ABC reports that if Americans changed their buying habits and spent just $64 more a year on U.S.-made goods, domestic employment would increase by 200,000 jobs.

CRI-Member Shaw Industries was also listed in an online map of domestic manufacturers on ABC’s website.

Congratulations to Mohawk and all of CRI’s members who continue to produce carpet that’s Made in America!

~Bethany

Friday, April 15, 2011

Indoor Air Quality for School Administrators, Facility Managers

CRI Fact Sheet: Indoor Air Quality for School Administrators, Facility Managers

A LESSON ON CARPET AND FRESH AIR ~ The Facts about Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for School Administrators and Facility Managers - 3rd in a series

This series of articles is designed to share some of Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on Indoor Air Quality for school administrators and facility managers begins,

“In an educational setting, students come first. That’s why maintaining indoor air quality is paramount. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has conducted scientific research and gathered independent data that show carpet is not only a viable choice for schools, it’s the best choice.” It continues:

What You Should Know

• New carpet is the lowest VOC-emitting floor covering and one of the lowest-emitting products used in new construction and renovation – much lower than products such as paint. The already low VOC emission of new carpet drops significantly after 24 hours—even sooner with fresh air ventilation.

• Carpet manufacturers were the first in the flooring industry to thoroughly study their products for indoor air quality effects in school settings. CRI worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), academic institutions and independent laboratories to evaluate carpet’s role in the indoor environment.

• In 1992, CRI became the first organization to set limits on VOC emissions from carpet, adhesives and cushion. Since then, the Green Label Plus program has voluntarily tightened IAQ standards four times by requiring even lower emission levels and increasing the number of compounds evaluated.

• CRI also worked with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and Department of Health to certify carpet and adhesives. Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, the low-emitting product testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

• Carpet also plays the role of an air filter: carpet traps dust, pollen and other particles, taking them out of the breathing zone until they can be removed easily by vacuuming.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

Click on this link for the CRI downloadable fact sheet about Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for School Administrators and Facility Managers.

See the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute Downloadable Fact Sheets.

For previous posts in this series discussing Indoor Air Quality:

Next - Indoor Air Quality for healthcare administrators and facility managers

~Bethany

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Childhood Asthma Study: Part 2 - Carpet, No Carpet? No Difference

Childhood Asthma Study: Part 2 - Carpet, No Carpet? No Difference

Childhood Asthma Study Concludes: No Difference in Symptom Improvement, Allergen Levels in Carpeted vs. Uncarpeted Homes - Part 2


[Part 1 of this two-part series describes the original Childhood Asthma Study.]

If you buy into the widespread current thinking in the medical community and popular media on the effect of carpet on patients with asthma and allergies, you would expect that, all other variables being equal, asthmatic children who live in homes without carpet on the floors would suffer fewer symptoms. A major medical study indicates that this is not the case.

Titled, “Results of a Home-Based Environmental Intervention among Urban Children with Asthma”, the study was published in the September 9, 2004 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. It describes the results of a project called “The Inner-City Asthma Study.” Because children with asthma who live in the inner city are exposed to multiple indoor allergens and environmental tobacco smoke in their homes, the objective of the study was to determine “whether an environmental intervention tailored to each child’s allergic sensitization and environmental risk factors could improve asthma-related outcomes.” In other words, if making healthy changes in an asthmatic child’s home would help him or her live more symptom-free.

Childhood Asthma Study Details

The study followed 937 children from seven major U.S. cities over the course of a year. Of the participants, more than 50% of the children had positive skin tests to three or more allergen groups. Other common elements of the group were that they were from families whose incomes were at or close to the poverty level, as well as these factors:

“Cockroaches were reported in 58% of homes, wall-to-wall carpeting in the child's bedroom in 55%, a smoker in 48%, mice or rats in 40%, and furry pets in 28%. "

Trained instructors worked with each subject family, educating and motivating them to make changes in as many as six different areas, according to each child’s needs: establishing an allergen-free sleeping zone, eliminating environmental tobacco smoke, cockroach and rodent allergens, pet dander, and mold.

Families were given HEPA-filter vacuum cleaners, and in some instances, freestanding air filters. Professional pest exterminators were called in where needed. Children’s beds were encased in dust-mite-blocking covers, and caretakers were given cleaning products and instructed in how best to clean and maintain the home to remove allergens. Study sponsors supplied the families with cleaning products – even the cost of the additional electricity the household would need to run the vacuum or air filter was provided through the study.

Another article about the Inner City Study, published in 2002 in Environmental Health Perspectives (peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) tells how, at the outset of the study, researchers wanted to remove carpet from the children’s’ bedrooms, but for various reasons could not. “Because wall-to-wall carpeting is known to be a major allergen reservoir, we would have preferred to remove it from the child’s bedroom. However, expense and apartment rental contracts prevented us from relying on this approach.” Still, caregivers were instructed to, “whenever possible, remove the carpet from their children’s bedrooms.”

Childhood Asthma Study Results

The interventions took place over one year, but the households in the study were monitored every six months for a period of two years. Children’s symptoms were assessed every two months during the first year.

The interventions resulted in more symptoms-free days for the study group throughout the study. Children missed fewer days of school, slept through the night more, and made fewer trips to the emergency room. Here’s an interesting fact mentioned in the study: contrary to what was expected, “Carpeting in the home did not modify the effect of the intervention on symptoms.” In other words, children with carpet in their bedrooms improved as much and did just as well as children who had hard surface floors.

In addition, the interventions produced marked declines in the measured levels of allergens in the home, including in the bed, and on the floor. Indeed, the study reported, “There was no difference in allergen reduction between homes with carpets and those without carpeting.”

I am certainly no medical expert, but it seems to me that this large-scale, multi-faceted and randomized study, sponsored by the nation’s most well-respected institutions in asthma and allergy research (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health), goes a long way towards refuting the widely-held notion that patients with asthma and/or allergies must remove their carpet, and seems to confirm the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) assertion that clean, dry carpet is a healthy flooring choice for everyone, including children and adults with asthma and allergies. CRI’s position is based on a body of sponsored as well as independent research, but the Inner City study is significant in that it comes from the medical community.

According to published disclosure statements, no carpet manufacturer contributed to or was in any way involved in this research, and none of the researchers were affiliated with or sponsored by any representative of the carpet industry.

Do you consider this information useful? I’d like to know your thoughts.

N.B.: Some of you may find this August 2007 chart significant. It is from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website and represents a synopsis of the Childhood Asthma Study and its findings.

Synopsis of the Childhood Asthma Study and its findings
Click on the image for a larger view.
You can also access the chart by clicking on this link to an 11 page pdf document.  This particular chart on the Childhood Asthma Study is on page 11.

~Bethany

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Childhood Asthma Study: Carpet vs. Uncarpeted Homes

Childhood Asthma Study: Carpet vs. Uncarpeted Homes

Childhood Asthma Study Concludes: No Difference in Symptom Improvement, Allergen Levels in Carpeted vs. Uncarpeted Homes - Part 1


I had the pleasure of manning the Carpet and Rug Institute booth at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology held recently in San Francisco. The AAAAI comprises the largest established group of asthma, allergy, and immunology physicians from private practice and academic medicine. And although it’s called the American academy, during my three days in the exhibit hall I spoke with doctors from all over the world – England, South America, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Western and Eastern Europe and Asia, - the list goes on, as well as doctors from all over the U.S.

This was not the first time I had attended the AAAAI meeting, and, if I may be allowed a very un-scientific observation, this year was different. I experienced none of the skepticism and push-back of previous years when I talked to doctors about carpet cleaning and its effect on indoor air quality. In fact, the doctors I spoke with were enthusiastic about CRI’s Seal of Approval vacuum testing program.  I gave out hundreds of copies of CRI’s booklet, Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies, (see related blog post about Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies) and took orders for scores more to be sent directly to doctors’ offices.

While it was gratifying to find doctors who expressed their belief that clean carpet can perform as well as hard surface floors for many patients with asthma and allergies, I did not expect to have a doctor refer me to a study that would confirm it. During the course of one conversation, the doctor I was speaking with wrote, “Morgan, et. al; NEJM; 2004” on the back of a business card and handed it to me. I found the study on the New England Journal of Medicine website, and I was amazed to find a straightforward account of a large-scale medical study of nearly 1000 inner-city children (the majority of whom had carpet in their bedrooms) with moderate to severe asthma, that showed, among other things, that carpet in and of itself is not a factor in the severity of a child’s symptoms or the amount of measured allergens in the home environment.

Childhood Asthma Study Description

Titled, “Results of a Home-Based Environmental Intervention among Urban Children with Asthma”, the study was published in the September 9, 2004 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. It describes the results of a project called “The Inner-City Asthma Study.” Children with asthma who live in the inner city are exposed to multiple indoor allergens and environmental tobacco smoke in their homes. The objective of the study was to determine “whether an environmental intervention tailored to each child’s allergic sensitization and environmental risk factors could improve asthma-related outcomes.” In other words, if making healthy changes in an asthmatic child’s home would help him or her live more symptom-free.

The study concluded that reducing a child’s exposure to tobacco smoke and various indoor allergens, such as cockroach and dust-mite allergens, results in significant improvements for the child’s health, in relation to his or her asthma symptoms.

Further, the report mentions that there was no difference in the improvement experienced by children who lived in homes with carpet versus children from homes with other types of flooring.

In addition, no difference was found in the levels of allergens measured in carpeted homes compared to homes with hard surface floors.

Next post: details of the study

~Bethany

Friday, April 8, 2011

Indoor Air Quality for Architects, Designers and Builders: Fact Sheet

Indoor Air Quality for Architects, Designers and Builders: CRI Fact Sheet

AIR QUALITY THAT’S BUILT IN ~ CRI Downloadable Fact Sheet on Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for Architects, Designers and Builders - 2nd in a series

This series of articles is designed to share some of Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability. Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on Indoor Air Quality for architects, designers and builders begins,

“When it comes to air quality, you can breathe easier with carpet. Despite misconceptions, carpet emits less and filters more compounds than any other flooring option. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has conducted scientific research and gathered independent data that show carpet delivers the best air quality around.” It continues:

What You Should Know

• New carpet is the lowest VOC-emitting floor covering and one of the lowest-emitting products used in new construction and renovation – much lower than products such as paint. The already low VOC emission of new carpet drops significantly after 24 hours—even sooner with fresh air ventilation.

• Carpet manufacturers were the first in the flooring industry to thoroughly study their products for indoor air quality effects in commercial settings. CRI worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), academic institutions and independent laboratories to evaluate carpet’s role in the indoor environment.

• In 1992, CRI became the first organization to set limits on VOC emissions from carpet, adhesives and cushion. Since then, the Green Label Plus program has voluntarily tightened IAQ standards four times by requiring even lower emission levels and increasing the number of compounds evaluated.

• CRI also worked with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and Department of Health to certify carpet and adhesives. Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, the low-emitting product testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). 

• LEED ratings require that carpet systems meet CRI’s Green Label Plus standard to gain one full LEED point. The Green Guide for Healthcare awards one point to healthcare facilities that install approved carpet.

• Picotte Companies was awarded LEED v2 Silver certification when it built a 471,000 square foot commercial office building using adhesives, carpet, sealants, paints, etc. that emit low or no VOCs.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this wonderful floor covering.

Click on this link to download the CRI Downloadable Fact Sheet on Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for Architects, Designers and Builders.

[The previous post in this series discussed Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet for Carpet Retailers, Consumers.]

See the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute Downloadable Fact Sheets.

Next - Indoor Air Quality for school administrators and facility managers.

~Bethany

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Read All About Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI): Werner Braun

Read All About Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI): Werner Braun

New Document Lists Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Resources - by Werner Braun

In his February 18, 2011 column titled Read all about CRI for the Dalton Daily-CitizenCarpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun writes about a new CRI handout that contains so much information it deserves an “Extra, extra — read all about it,” moment.

A simple, two-sided document, the handout showcases the resources CRI offers to members and stakeholders, including retailers, carpet cleaners, carpet installers, construction specifiers, architects, designers and the public. According to the article, the handout lists, among other things, the CRI blog, which provides the latest industry news and commentary, as well as links to articles, interviews and useful information. Mr. Braun continues:

“Another great resource is CARE, the organization that spearheads the industry’s efforts to increase the amount of post-consumer recycled and reused carpet, and reduce the amount going into landfills. For asthma and allergy patients and health care providers, CRI also offers a vast amount of research, fact sheets and journal articles about carpet and its relationship to asthma and allergy symptoms. CRI’s resources dispel the myths about carpet and demonstrate that carpet is a desirable flooring option for everyone, including people with allergies and asthma.

CRI also has a library of downloadable fact sheets that are customized for audiences such as schools, consumers, healthcare facility planners and builders. Topics range from affordability, to indoor air quality, to sustainability and more.

This flip side of the handout is devoted to CRI’s various signature standards, such as the Green Label Plus standard for Indoor Air Quality and the Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products and equipment. Green Label Plus is a voluntary industry testing program for carpet and adhesive products that establishes the highest standard for indoor air quality (IAQ) ever set by the carpet industry. CRI’s SOA program is the only one in the industry that scientifically measures the cleaning efficiency of vacuums, extractors, cleaning systems and cleaning products. CRI has a proud history of establishing industry standards, and periodically raising those standards even higher.

Last, but not least, are the ANSI/NSF 140 Standard for Sustainable Carpet and the Texture Appearance Retention Rating (TARR). The standard is the first to measure and certify carpet sustainability. It addresses sustainability throughout the manufacturing process, from production to recycling to reclamation. TARR identifies the level of texture change in a carpet from varying amounts of foot traffic and is the only measurement for carpet durability.”

CRI’s various publications are available for purchase from CRI’s online webstore. You may also “read all about it” on carpet-rug.org or criblog.org.

If you like what you've read here, consider subscribing to the Carpet and Rug Institute Blog via email updates or RSS.

Thanks, Werner!

~Bethany

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mannington's Let's Make Noise Promotes American Jobs

U.S. Carpet Manufacturer Promotes American Manufacturing Jobs ~ Mannington’s Let’s Make Noise video posted on YouTube

U.S. Carpet Manufacturer Promotes American Manufacturing Jobs ~ Mannington’s Let’s Make Noise video posted on YouTube

Mannington Mills, a fourth generation family-owned flooring manufacturer and Carpet and Rug Institute member, has posted a video on You Tube that celebrates the company history and American manufacturing in general.

Titled, “Let’s Make Some Noise - An American Manufacturing Story”, the 2.5-minute video opens on scenes of abandoned factories and shuttered warehouses. Superimposed over the video are the words, “Too many places like this have been quieted in the US. Places that once made amazing things. But being quiet is not in our nature. It never has been.” Segue into shots of people and machines at work in busy facilities, and communities where people are leading productive lives. The narration features the voices of real Mannington employees.

You can watch the Mannington "Let's Make Some Noise" video here:


In an interview on the flooring news website Floordaily.net, Ed Duncan, VP of Marketing for Mannington Mills, discussed the Mannington Makes Noise initiative with publisher Kemp Harr. He said the video, which has, at this writing received over 14,000 views on YouTube, communicates a message that resonates well with people, Duncan said. “It portrays the human side of keeping people employed.”

Duncan says Mannington has received numerous requests from retailers and other business groups to link to the video. “They get it,” he said. The video also received national media attention from ABC News’ Made in America series and national newspapers.

Thank you, Mannington, for this inspiring video.

~Bethany

Friday, April 1, 2011

Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet for Carpet Retailers, Consumers

CRI Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet for Carpet Retailers, Consumers

Right At Home with Indoor Air Quality ~ CRI Downloadable Fact Sheet for Carpet Retailers and Consumers - 1st in a series

I am often impressed with the breadth of information that can be found on the Carpet and Rug Institute’s website. More than 600 pages, plus PDFs and other downloadable content, CRI’s site is huge, and while some areas receive very high traffic volume, other areas are accessed much less often. In an effort to keep good information from going unnoticed, I’m pulling some of CRI’s best online assets into the light of day on the CRI blog.

As a perfect example - CRI’s collection of downloadable fact sheets is nothing short of a hidden gold mine. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability. Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on Indoor Air Quality for carpet retailers and their customers begins, “There is a perception that carpet is a poor choice for maintaining good air quality. In fact, the opposite is true. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has conducted scientific research and gathered independent data that show carpet is not only a viable flooring choice, it’s the best choice.” It continues:

What You Should Know
• New carpet is the lowest VOC-emitting floor covering and one of the lowest-emitting products used in new construction and renovation – much lower than products such as paint. The already low VOC emission of new carpet drops significantly after 24 hours—even sooner with fresh air ventilation.

• Carpet manufacturers were the first in the flooring industry to thoroughly study their products for indoor air quality effects. CRI worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), academic institutions and independent laboratories to evaluate carpet’s role in indoor the environment.

• In 1992, CRI became the first organization to set limits on VOC emissions from carpet, adhesives and cushion. Since then, the Green Label Plus program has voluntarily tightened IAQ standards four times by requiring even lower emission levels and increasing the number of compounds evaluated.

• CRI also worked with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and Department of Health to certify carpet and adhesives. Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, the low-emitting product testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

• Carpet also plays the role of an air filter: carpet traps dust, pollen and other particles, taking them out of the breathing zone until they can be removed easily by vacuuming.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the quick-and-easy first stop for any and all questions about this wonderful floor covering.

You can download the CRI Fact Sheet about Indoor Air Quality for Carpet Retailers and Consumers by clicking on this link.

Next- Indoor Air Quality for architects, designers and builders.

~Bethany
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