Health considerations when choosing flooring.
Choosing your flooring is an important issue.
Your home is where you and your family usually spend the greatest proportion of your time.
It is important to make your home environment as safe as possible.
And the flooring is the biggest surface in our homes that we are always in contact with.
We often walk barefoot on our floors and our children play on the floor for hours.
Most people choose carpets for their flooring as opposed to other options such as newcastle floating floors, tiles, ceramics and vinyl flooring newcastle. It is a traditional favourite, seen as a very comfy and homely floor covering, but is carpet a wise option for you and the family?
It is the easiest to keep clean and maintain?
Can carpet worsen some health problems?
There are many problems with carpets that you may or not be aware of.
It is very hard to keep carpet clean even when it may look clean.
A carpet can hold 8 times its weight in dirt without even being able to notice the trapped dirt.
Most chosen carpets are either darker in colour or patterned, because they “do not show the dirt”. And that is exactly what happens. A carpet may appear clean, but the reality is, that it is not clean and just getting dirtier and dirtier with time. It is hard to detect that with time the carpet is getting duller and dirtier due to liquid and food spills, tracked in dirt, also accumulation of sweat, dust, and the shedding of our hair and skin cells and not to forget undetected pet urine. All these contaminants build up and cannot be fully removed with your cleaning efforts.
Carpets are a haven for many life forms to thrive.
Floors get walked on, spilled on, and collect anything that falls onto them. Carpets have the potential to become a great environment for dirt to collect and for pests, mould and germs to thrive. Because it is hard to keep a carpet clean, many organisms have a plentiful supply of nutrition from all the spills and dirt and organic matter that stays stuck in your carpet despite your cleaning efforts.
Many microscopic pests love dirty carpets, which include fleas, dust mites, and carpet beetles. Flea eggs can be dormant for many months before hatching. Carpets provide a breeding ground for dust mites which thrive on dead skin and other food sources which are found in abundance.
Also bacteria and mould can easily take hold in a dirty carpet.
Any wet carpet that has been wet for over a day is likely to be contaminated with mould and mildew. This is difficult to eradicate. The only sure way to control this is to remove the carpet.
Carpets hold many allergens that contribute to respiratory problems including asthma.
Because it is impossible to adequate clean carpet, having carpet as your flooring increases the risk of breathing in trapped dust, dander and pollens that are released into the air when you walk on the carpet. These stirred up, air borne allergens from dirty carpets can cause coughing, wheezing, sneezing and even shortness of breath. If your allergies are getting worse at home then your carpets are most likely a contributing factor that needs to be addressed. Thriving dust mites, mould and other bacteria are a large contributing factor to allergy problems.
Many new carpets produce toxic fumes.
These are called volatile organic compounds and are a combination of hazardous substances known to be carcinogenic, or cause damage to the immune system, or respiratory problems.
Many chemicals are added to carpet including stain resistant chemicals, mothproofing chemicals, fire retardant chemicals, antistatic sprays, artificial dyes or antimicrobial treatments.
These chemicals degrade the indoor air quality which can exacerbate any respiratory condition.
Old carpets are even worse
Older carpets can be more hazardous than new ones. They contain outdated chemicals which have now been banned. Also they have had years to accumulate dust, dirt, spilled food, pesticides, and anything else brought in on shoes, feet and pet’s paws. Additionally, with time, bacteria and bugs, including dust mites have proliferated.
Every chemical you use at home, every pesticide spray, cigarette smoke, paint, or strong chemical cleaning agents etc accumulates in the carpet and stays there despite your cleaning efforts.
Household dust can contain heavy metals, because these contaminants are in our soil and are brought into the house, to become embedded in the carpet.
Studies from the Environmental Protection Agency have stated that 80% of human exposure to pesticides happens indoors and that indoor air levels of many pollutants are at least twice as high as outdoor levels.
Older carpets can be so toxic that the risk of being exposed to hazardous chemicals are up to 50% times higher in a carpeted room than outdoors. If the carpet is thick or shag pile, this risk increases substantially.
Things that can be done to reduce your health risks if you choose carpet.
Using a high quality vaccum cleaner produces a more effective clean, than using a poor quality one. However even those with high quality HEPA( ie high-efficiency particulate air) filters can leak air through gaps in their casing. This causes dirty air to blow back into the indoor environment! Various studies have found that bacteria can remain viable in vacuum cleaner bags for months. Also, dust particles which have settled in the carpet can become airborne by using vacuums which can aggravate allergies and asthma.
Steam cleaning can kill dust mites and bacteria, but would need to be done regularly and is more work and costly.
A professional clean would be helpful but again needs to be done regularly and is costly.
Please note, if mould or mildew has already taken hold, the only solution is to remove the carpet.
Overall the best way to reduce your risks is to remove your carpet and research into an alternate flooring that is easy to keep clean and maintain.Leave a Comment