Carpet and Allergies Misconceptions

Carpet and Allergies Misconceptions

This theme is one which has been addressed by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) to promote and grow the carpet industry.  Whether you know it or not, this industry, through the CRI, is one of the most sophisticated industries in the country.  It has taken initiatives to not only police itself, but to set  a standard for positive initiatives that stand as models for other industries.

The carpet industry is a $12 billion a year business at the mill level and continues to grow.  In order to ensure continued  healthy growth of the industry, CRI took the initiative to determine what the biggest barriers for growth are.  One of the largest, which continues to be perpetrated by the uninformed , is that broadloom is unhealty.  A common misconception is that carpet has a mold problem.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Clean, dry broadloom will not support mold growth.  The only reason mold may grow on carpet is if there is dirt acting as a food source and allowing mold to establish a culture on which to grow.

Studies and tests have been conducted by building a room with wood framing, drywall, ceiling tile and other natural materials and then carpeting the space.  The room was heated and humidified, allowing perfect conditions for mold growth.  Within 24 hours the wood began to show mold.  Every surface in the room generated mold except for the broadloom.  When mold was detected in the carpet it was on soiled areas.

Another misconception is broadloom somehow aggravates asthma and allergies.  On the contrary, because carpet traps airborne particles that aggravates these conditions it will not contribute to the causes.  It actually acts as an inhibitor to allergies and asthma.  Hard surface flooring, on the other hand, will allow settled particles to become airborne anytime someone walks on it or  the air conditioning kicks on.

Tests have been conducted which actually show how an individual walking on a hard surface floor stirs up soil and causes it to circulate.  The same model employing carpet as the flooring, shows virtually no particles becoming airborne.  It’s true that allergens are tapped by broadloom but that’s precisely the point, they are trapped and not allowed to aggravate individuals and can be safely removed through proper vacuuming.

Still another misconception is carpet is more expensive to maintain and sanitize.  Studies have proven time and again that broadloom is actually 2-1/2 times less expensive to maintain than other surfaces.  Again, carpet will trap soil and hold it, keeping it in place to allow for ease of removal and, it will hide the soil effectively—hard surfaces will not.  Further, the industry has just adopted more stringent standards for cleaning methods, chemicals, agents and even vacuum cleaners.

Tests are being conducted on all types of cleaning products to measure their effectiveness in removing soil and their resoiling rate as well as well as making sure no damage is done to the fiber itself.  The makers of these products are voluntarily supporting these tests to better their products.  The same is true of cleaning equipment and chemical suppliers.  This support will only better the entire industry.  Rather than fight the movement, suppliers and service providers feel this is an important step in raising the bar for them.

One of the biggest concerns for the last several years has been that carpet has a volatile organic chemical (VOC) problem.  Simply put, there are many who incorrectly believe it is full of toxic chemicals which are dangerous and hazardous to a healty environment.

First, let’s dispel this myth with the most obvious answer.  If broadloom were as dangerous as some would have us believe, I and most of you and certainly people working in the manufacturing plants would be dropping like flies from its exposure.  In fact, 99.9% of all volatile organic compounds are exhausted  before it ships.  For the laste several years there has been a concerted effort to remove any component which could remotely be considered a VOC.

You can walk into any carpet mill today and smell virtually nothing from the manufacturing process.  Simply put, it does not have a COC problem.  Could there be a problem with come backing materials emitting odor?  Yes, but in almost every case, some type of local substrate condition has been the catalyst for odorous conditions which could have been prevented, explained or eliminated by substituting a backing material that would not react to compromising conditions.

The biggest problem identified as a barrier to profitability is soil and maintenance.  Broadloom is not cleaned often enough, properly or as effectively as it should, causing it to ugly out.  This will make it look bad, allowing the perception that it is wearing out.  As long as it is kept clean and dry and the right product is put in the right place, it will perform as long as one would expect.


For further information regarding environmental/green carpet and flooring, visit our website at:                     or contact us at 1.800.489.7847

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