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Are synthetic carpets damaging your health?

While synthetic carpet may seem like an easy choice in the showroom, there’s more to the story than simply price and style. Through volatile organic compounds (VOCs), airborne particles, and an inability to absorb other harmful pollutants, synthetic fibres in your home could be harming your health.

Indoor pollutants can be harmful to human health and often give rise to short term irritation, respiratory illness, and allergic reactions.

What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

Think of that new car smell, fresh paint, or a recently installed synthetic carpet. These smells all arise due to the presence of VOCs. Put simply, VOCs are the gases and vapours which are released by new products, synthetic varnishes, and paints.

Check for residue

To check whether these chemicals are at risk of rubbing off, you can conduct a simple test. Rub one hand vigorously across a nylon carpet and keep the other hand clean (as a control). Next, rub your thumb and finger together on each hand. Many nylon carpets will leave a residue on your fingers. Can you feel a difference between the two?

Removing potentially harmful substances from your home can only stand to benefit those who matter to you most.

Think about how much time babies and young children spend on the ground; crawling, playing, napping, hiding, and playing rough and tumble. Time spent on a synthetic carpet is time spent closer to these chemicals.

How can wool carpet reduce indoor air pollution?

Some interior furnishings have the ability to absorb certain pollutants from the home. In contrast to other furnishings, carpets have the greatest potential to absorb and remove indoor air pollutants.

Does wool carpet remove indoor air pollutants more effectively than synthetic carpet?

Indoor air pollutants with known unfavourable health effects include nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and formaldehyde (HCOH). Synthetic carpets do not absorb these gasses. Fortunately, these three big offenders can be effectively eliminated by wool carpet.

What about re-emission?

Research suggests that NO2, SO2, and HCOH are not readily re-emitted by wool carpet or rugs. [Crawshaw, G. H., 1978. The role of wool carpets in controlling indoor air pollution. Textile Institute and Industry, 1978, 12, 12-15 EPA 402/F-08/008, September 2008, Care For Y our Air, A Guide to Indoor Air Quality],

Dust be gone

Carpeting can also remove particulate pollutants from the air. Whether its pet fur, dust mites, pollen, or other allergens, a carpet made from wool will trap them within its fibres until you take them out with a vacuum cleaner.

By replacing your synthetic fibre with wool, you'll have nature on your side. A wool carpet will effectively subdue VOCs and particle pollutants to purify the air in your home for up to 20 years of use, giving you peace of mind and enabling you to breathe easy.


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