New Carpet Odors Can Make You Sick

“New” can be a wonderful scent.  A new car with leather interior, a fresh coat of paint, new wood furniture, and so much more.

Even new carpeting can emit pleasing odors. Not that you’d want to bottle that scent and market it, mind you, but once you inhale the odor, it reminds you of a positive purchase and you’re happy to be embraced by it. Until, that is, it starts to make you and other family members sick.

That familiar smell can last for weeks or months after installation, and usually is caused by the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and other air pollutants that are used in the manufacturing process.

Those emissions are also known as “off gassing,” a serious health hazard that can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions. These chemicals are neurotoxins as well as allergens. To compound matters, some new carpeting and padding are made of plastic or other synthetic fibers, and many of these are treated with fire-retardant chemicals which can cause fatigue, skin rashes or other breathing problems.

Since 1993 the carpet industry has required carpet manufacturers to label carpets with a health advisory warning that “some people experience allergic or flu-like symptoms, headaches, or respiratory problems, which are associated with the installation, cleaning or removal of carpeting.”

So, to help eliminate or minimize the potential effects of off gassing the next time you buy carpeting, here are a few pointers:

  • Look for the green label to show that the carpet meets industry standards.
  • Ask the installer to air out the new carpet for a day or two before installation.
  • Leave windows open and a fan going for a few days following installation.
  • Make sure the installer seals seams with non-toxic adhesive. Glue is another potential source of indoor air pollution.
  • Vacuum frequently and deep clean annually to avoid triggering other allergic reactions.

At Air Professionals, we are indoor air quality specialists who can help you maintain a pollutant-free indoor living environment all year longContact us today for more information or to schedule a free in-home air quality consultation. With UV lamps, whole-house air filters, and other indoor air quality products, we can rid your home of the pollutants that may be adversely affecting your health.