The decision to install carpeting in your home comes with a whole lot of variables that go beyond the many aesthetic qualities that are of great concern to all homeowners. It’s important for your carpet to look and feel great and you’re likely going to spend hours on end poring through books of swatches until you can’t tell teal from turquoise anymore.
Your carpet is the centerpiece of the room and the style, color, and pattern are all critical to finding the best one for every room in your home. Perhaps you’ve chosen a specific décor scheme or color design for each room and the carpet must match or, at the very least, complement the interior.
Compare and Contrast
But while you’re comparing and contrasting fibers and color shades, there’s one more option you may want to consider that can help to do more than just beautify your home. The carpet you install can also be good for the environment. Homes that go with eco-friendly carpet are more likely to be healthier than those that don’t consider this factor as part of their decision-making process.
In an effort to make it just a little bit easier to choose one carpet over another for the healthier benefits that can be gained for you and the world around you, take a look at some of these hints for choosing the best eco-friendly carpet and carpet pad for the home.
Have you ever given much thought to what actually goes into the manufacturing processes of your carpet? Sure, they look clean and healthy enough, after all it’s just fibers woven into a backing, how much of a negative impact could it really have on the health of your loved ones and the environment?
You may be surprised. That’s because a lot new carpets are made with something called volatile organic compounds (VOC) which can get into the air and be easily breathed in by anyone in the nearby vicinity of a freshly installed carpet.
When was the last time you were in a room that just had a brand new carpet installed? Did you notice a certain specific aroma at the time? You may have even described it as a “new carpet smell” not unlike the distinct scent that a new automobile might have when you sit inside of it.
Here’s a bit of bad news for you, that aroma you were detecting as you walked on or near that brand new carpet contained at least one or more VOC’s. This is because they are unleashed into the atmosphere through gases and when you or someone in your family inhales them, it can lead to some harmful effects that are often felt quite immediately.
Some of these harmful impacts can be anything from headaches to trouble breathing to skin allergies and even nose and throat irritation. Dizziness and feelings of nausea are also common reactions to the ingestion of a VOC.
In the case of your new carpet aroma, the VOC that is being inhaled is usually a compound named 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH). This can be found as a component of the latex that is utilized in holding the fibers to the backing of the carpet. This is an aroma and a harmful airborne contaminant that can typically be present for a period of 7-10 days after the carpet is installed.
Therefore, for as long as you remain in the home with this aroma present, you and your family are inhaling 4-phenylcyclohexene. Opening the windows to air the room out is only exposing the outside area to that same VOC and it doesn’t make your home any less potentially hazardous.
The same goes for the carpet padding you select. While an important part of the proper installation of a carpet into your home, it can also represent serious health risks to you, your loved ones, and the environment. One such example is styrene butadiene rubber padding, which is known to give off similar toxicity through inhaled means.
These toxic impacts can affect everything from the liver to the lungs and even pose significant reproductive harm.
But going with eco-friendly options for your carpet and padding can reduce these impacts and all you need to do is check the labels on both. The Carpet and Rug Institute has developed a criteria of standards for low emissions on some of the most potentially harmful by-products of carpet and padding.
If your carpet has been tested by the CRI’s Indoor Air Quality Program and met the organization’s criteria for safety, you will be able to see it displayed on the label. Always look for those three letters before you buy and, after you get it home, be sure only to use green carpet cleaning thats pet and child friendly for routine maintenance of your new eco-friendly floor coverings.