11 May Carpets – A Petri Dish of Bacteria
60% of homes in the US have carpets. They also cover the floors of our schools and businesses. Children play for hours on them, infants crawl on them. New homeowners breathe in that “new carpet smell” proudly! STOP!
You are smelling chemicals!
New carpets contain ‘volatile organic compounds’ aka VOC’s. These include toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, and acetone, just to name a few. Most have already made the EPA’s list of Extremely Hazardous Substances. Known carcinogens such as p-Dichlorobenzene are in new carpets, as are chemicals that produce fetal abnormalities in test animals. These chemicals are also known to cause hallucinations and nerve damage.
That ‘new carpet smell’ comes from 4-PC, associated with eye, nose and upper respiratory problems that are suffered by many new carpet owners. 4-PC is used in the latex backing of 95% of US carpets. In 2000 the 3M Company removed the chemical perflouro-octanyl Salphonate from their product, ‘Scotchgard’, because it had been found to cause reproductive problems in rats. These are just a few of the problems with carpets.
Older carpets can be more of a hazard than new ones: Not only do they contain the chemicals banned from more recent production, they also have had years to accumulate pounds of dust mites, dirt, pesticides and other toxins brought in on shoes, feet and pet’s paws.
Did you know that your carpet can hold 8 times it’s weight in toxin filled dirt and you can’t even see the trapped dirt that your carpet is hiding! The EPA has stated that 80% of human exposure to pesticides happens indoors. Every time you spray for bugs or use a fogger, the chemicals settle in the rug and stay there for years older carpets are so toxic that your chances of being exposed to hazardous chemicals are 10-50 times higher in a carpeted room than outdoors. If the carpet is plush or shag, your risk increases substantially.
What can you do? Take action to reduce your exposure to carpet toxins. First, if you can, get rid of the carpeting. If not that, then vacuum with a Well Sealed High Quality HEPA Vacuum Cleaner that can do a much better job of cleaning your carpets then the cheaper vacuum cleaners found at most department stores. Steam cleaning can kill dust mites and bacteria.
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