Often-Held Myths Surrounding Carpet Are Dispelled By the Carpet and Rug Institute

Sept. 1, 2001

ATLANTA, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the industry trade association, is committed to educating people about carpet and to dispel untruths and myths.

``The suggestion that carpet causes indoor air quality problems is a significant issue for the carpet industry to address,'' said Werner Braun, president of CRI. ``Through research, CRI offers information that is valuable to medical professionals and to anyone living with carpet.''

The following myths have been identified as the top ten most persistent misconceptions, according to Mr. Braun.

Myth No. 1: "There are health risks associated with carpet."

Truth: An extensive toxicological assessment of components of carpet
concluded that the chemicals in carpet pose no health risks of
public concern.

Reference: In 1994, Environ Corporation of Arlington, Virginia, prepared
a study, Safety Assessment of Components of and Emissions from
Carpets. The conclusion was: "For the chemicals identified as
being present in, but not emitted from carpet, there is no
reason to believe that they present any health risk of public
concern. For chemicals identified as being from carpet, no
cancer risk of public health concern is predicted for any
chemical individually, or when the predicted upper limit on
risk is added for all potential carcinogens. Similarly, no
non-carcinogenic effects of public health concern would be

Myth No. 2: "Mold and mildew can grow in carpet."

Truth: Mold and mildew exist ONLY where there is excess moisture and
dirt coupled with poor cleaning and maintenance habits. Mold
growth can occur on any surface-from windowpanes to carpet-
that is not properly maintained and when moisture is extreme.
Eliminating sources of excessive moisture, such as water
leaks, and controlling humidity greatly offset the potential
for mold to grow.

Reference: In a study conducted by HOST/Racine Industries, six Florida
schools were checked for indoor air problems triggered by high
humidity and reduced ventilation. Dust-lined, moldy ducts and
plumbing leaks onto ceiling tiles allowed mold to grow and
released millions of spores into the air. The research
supported that mold and mildew are not associated with a
particular surface, such as carpet.

Myth No. 3: "Carpet is a cause of the asthma and allergy increase."

Truth: Comparison data from Sweden supports that there is no link
between carpet usage and the incidence of asthma or allergies.
CRI is not aware of any published scientific research
demonstrating a link between carpet and asthma or allergies.

Reference: A study, based on historical figures for ten years, was
reported by scientists at the Swedish Institute of Fibre and
Polymer Research. They found that while the use of carpet in
Sweden had steadily decreased since 1975, the occurrences of
allergic reactions in the general population had increased.

Myth No. 4: "Carpet is a sink for allergy-causing substances."

Truth: This is true as stated. The critical point, however, is often
missed. Carpet holds allergen-causing substances tightly and,
as a result, keeps allergens from becoming airborne,
minimizing the level of allergens in the breathing zone. This
translates to lower exposure potential. The allergens held by
carpet's filter-like effect may be removed by vacuuming,
refreshing the filter-like properties of the carpet to allow
more material to be removed from the air. Vacuuming
mattresses, carpet, and upholstery once or twice a week
removed allergens, including dust mite feces-a known source of
allergen. It is important to use the proper type of vacuum to
minimize re-suspending allergens.

Reference: In Carpet and Airborne Allergens, A Literature Review, Dr.
Alan Luedtke refers to the results of a study aimed at
determining the effect of routine vacuuming cleaning that
indicate frequent vacuum cleaning over a short time
significantly reduces house dust and mite allergen levels in

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies indicate the
effectiveness of carpet in reducing airborne particles. This
data indicates that soil in carpet is significantly reduced
following cleaning. Visit CRI's web site to learn about the
Green Label Vacuum Cleaner IAQ Testing Program that approves
vacuum cleaner models that are most effective in soil removal
and dust containment, while keeping carpet looking good.

Myth No. 5: "Carpet is a source of indoor quality (IAQ) problems."

Truth: As noted previously, an extensive toxicological assessment of
components of, and emissions from, carpet concluded that the
chemicals in carpet "present no health risks of public health
concern." Further, allergens in carpet may be removed by
vacuuming. Vacuum cleaner machines bearing the CRI IAQ Green
Label meet scientifically established standards for soil
removal and dust containment and help maintain good carpet

Reference: EPA/RTI Total Building Cleaning Effectiveness Study states,
"Organized cleaning contributes to reduction of particle VOCs
and biological pollutants 50%+." Contact the CRI to request
both the Carpet and Your Indoor Environment and Clearing the
Air in Your Home: A Guide to Safely Minimizing Allergens
brochures. Also referenced is the previously mentioned 1994
report from the Environ Corporation, Safety Assessment of
Components of and Emissions from Carpets.

Myth No. 6: "Carpet is more expensive and harder to maintain than hard-
floor surfaces."

Truth: Properly maintained carpet only needs vacuuming once or twice
weekly and periodic extraction cleaning. The sweeping,
mopping, stripping, waxing, and buffing that hard surface
floors demand are more laborious and costly.

Reference: A Building Office Managers Association (BOMA) study found
hard-surface floors require two-and-a-half times more annual
cleaning than carpet. Consumers may request CRI's brochures
Carpet, the Educated Choice for Schools, Carpet Maintenance
for School Facilities, and Use Life Cost Analysis for
Commercial Facilities to learn about the life-cycle cost
analysis and the value carpet delivers through warmth,
comfort, safety, and acoustics in the classroom and at home.

Myth No. 7: "Carpet is environmentally non-sustainable."

Truth: CRI member companies, representing over 90 percent of the
industry's manufacturers, have an excellent track record over
the last dozen years of decreasing wastes produced and energy
consumed, improving the industry's sustainability.

Reference: The Carpet and Rug Institute's Sustainability Report, 2001
details the industry's environmental efforts.

Myth No. 8: "Carpet is a major emitter of volatile organic compounds

Truth: Most new interior furnishings and building materials emit VOCs
for a period of time. Emissions from new carpet are among the
lowest of any household's indoor furnishings, and most VOCs
dissipate within 24 hours-even faster with good ventilation.

Reference: To further minimize other IAQ concerns, specify low-emitting
products, including CRI Green Label carpet, cushion, and
adhesive, when selecting household products and furnishings.

Myth No. 9: "Formaldehyde is used in the production of new carpet."

Truth: Formaldehyde is not used in the carpet manufacturing process.
It is not emitted from new carpet.

Reference: An article published in 1989 in the American Textile Chemist
and Colorists Journal stated that research conducted by the
School of Textile Engineering, Georgia Institute of
Technology, under Dr. Wayne Tincher and other researchers
dispelled this widely held myth. In addition, the CRI Indoor
Air Quality Testing Programs specifically monitor for
formaldehyde emission from new carpet, carpet cushion, and
installation adhesives as part of the industry's assurance to
the public of the absence of this chemical in these products.

Myth No. 10: "Latex in carpet produces allergic reactions."

Truth: The latex that holds the fibers and backing together in
broadloom carpet is synthetic. Synthetic latex is not
associated with the allergic reactions of natural latex, which
are caused by the proteins found in natural latex.

Reference: Carpet is made primarily of the same innocuous materials found
in clothing and other everyday fabrics, including polyester and

Contact the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) at 800 882 8846 or visit the web sites at www.carpet-rug.com and www.carpet-schools.com for extensive information about carpet and rugs.

SOURCE: Carpet and Rug Institute

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