Concerns about the health effects of carpeting first gained
national attention in 1988 when new carpeting installed
at the EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., was linked
to a rash of health complaints among EPA staff.
definitive cause never was identified, experts focused
on two main compounds:
The solvent-based adhesive used to install the carpeting and
The chemical 4-PC
(4-phenylcyclohexene), a compound found in the synthetic
latex backing used in 95% of all U.S. carpets. The compound
4-PC gives carpeting its distinctive “new carpet”
odor and is detectable by most people at very low levels.
Styrene, a known health hazard and suspected carcinogen,
is also found in the latex backing on carpeting.
Since 1988, over 500 people have made complaints to
the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) about
The most frequently reported symptoms
have been watery eyes, runny nose, burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, rashes, and fatigue.
In response, the CPSC commissioned a study of off-
gassing from new carpeting and identified 31 compounds,
but none approached airborne levels known to be hazardous
for short-term exposure.
Long-term effects of exposure to these carpet-associated chemicals or gases were
While some suspected formaldehyde , a
common respiratory irritant, it has not been used in the
manufacture of U.S. carpeting since the late 1980s (with
the exception of some vinyl-backed carpet tiles used in
Carpet Labeling Program Identifies VOCs, styrene, 4-PC & Formaldehyde
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI),
an industry association representing carpeting manufacturers,
also took action by launching its “Green Tag” program
The voluntary program tests new carpeting for
four categories of emissions: total VOCs, styrene, 4-PC,
Since national standards do not exist
for carpet emissions, the industry established its own
While these might not be as stringent as
some health advocates would like, they have led to a lowering
of emissions by manufacturers eager to display the
Green Tag label.
Labeling Program for Carpet Padding & Carpet Adhesives
Since 1992, the
CRI program has expanded to include carpet pads and
adhesives, suspected by some to be a greater source of
volatile compounds than the carpeting itself.
no chemical stands out as the source of most complaints,
the synergistic effect of multiple compounds is not well
Also, the sensitivity to chemical emissions
varies among individuals, making the effects of new carpeting
on individual occupants difficult to predict.
Air Out Carpet Before Installation or Occupancy
Both CRI and independent health advocates agree that
new carpet emissions drop off rapidly in the first 24 to
72 hours after being unrolled and exposed to ventilation
By increasing ventilation during that time, or if possible,
airing out the carpet for several hours to several days
before installation, most of the chemical emissions can be
avoided. In glue-down installations, seek out low-VOC
adhesives rated at less than 50 grams of VOC content per
liter of adhesive.
Carpeting Alternatives for Sensitive Individuals.
Once installed, carpets can act as reservoirs for contaminants
filtered from the air or tracked in on shoes, including
hydrocarbons, pesticides, and other particulates.
high-humidity conditions, dust mites, a powerful allergen,
can thrive in carpets. In homes with small children, people
with allergic conditions, or high-sensitivity individuals,
consider alternatives to carpeting. Area rugs that can be
washed periodically in 130°F water are an option.
carpeting is installed, health experts recommend frequent
vacuuming with a HEPA-type vacuum or central vacuum
with an outside exhaust, and periodic deep cleaning using
a hot-water extraction system.
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Handbook of Fiber Finishing Technology, Philip E. Slade, 1997, [Quoting Amazon.com]
Gathering hard-to-obtain data from different fiber and fabric manufacturers and suppliers into a single, convenient volume, this practical handbook supplies detailed information on hundreds of textile finish components;including their structural formulae, physical properties, CAS numbers, and effects on various fibers. Promoting a deeper understanding of finish technology, the Handbook of Fiber Finish Technology covers the fundamentals of fiber finish science, such as theories of friction laboratory testing of formulations from preliminary component evaluation to analyses for material characterization the influence of wetting, emulsification, and finish distribution on coatings soil- and stain-resistant chemicals and their applications in carpet protection the degradation of chemicals in the environment, including methods for predicting waste degeneration and more! Complemented with bibliographic citations and nearly 500 tables, equations, and drawings, this expertly written handbook is invaluable for polymer, fiber, and textile chemists, scientists, and engineers; physical, surface, and colloid chemists; textile and fiber manufacturers; and graduate-level students in these disciplines.
Tufted Carpet: Tecxtile Fibers, Dyes, Finishes, and Processes, Von Moody, Howard L. Haber, [Quoting from Amazon]
This book combines Von Moody's original work and research in the carpet industry with the well respected 1986 textile source book, Textile Fibers, Dyes, Finishes, and Processes: A Concise Guide, by Howard L. Needles to produce a unique practical guide on all aspects of the preparation, manufacture, and performance of carpet. It addresses the structure and properties of fiber, carpet construction, coatings, dyes, finishes, performance, and recycling, among other topics.
This volume is an indispensable reference for all practitioners in the carpet industry.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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