Most indoor air pollution experts agree that carpet should be avoided whenever feasible. The reason for this is that carpet is made up of some 120 different chemicals, many of which can cause health problems, and that once installed, carpet can collect dust and even lead (tracked in from shoes), and grow mold and dust mites. That being said, there are ways to reduce your exposure to the chemicals of the carpet and it’s installation.
- Choose natural fibers that haven’t been chemically treated. If you choose wool, make sure the wool is organic and hasn’t been given a moth treatment.
- If you buy a synthetic carpet, consider having it tested first by Anderson Labs. At the very least, make sure that the carpet holds the controversial “Green Tag” seal from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). Although this seal will not guarantee that the carpet is non-toxic, it will assure the carpet’s volatile organic chemicals (PVCs) are within
what the CRI considers an acceptable range.
- Tacking carpets down is safer than gluing.
- Avoid carpeting with PVC or styrene-butadiene rubber backing, and rubber carpet pads.
- Camel hair and wool needled (not glued) carpet pads are far safer and hold up very well.
- Finally, do the job in the summer when the house can be aired out, and ask the carpet installer to air the carpet out in the warehouse for three days at least—the longer the better—before putting it in the house.