Can carpet cause health problems?

Can dirty carpets make you sick? This movement of pollutants can cause respiratory problems, such as coughing or difficulty breathing. People who suffer from asthma may feel these symptoms even more intensely because they are more vulnerable to toxins found in the air. The American Lung Association reports that pets, as well as children who spend more time on the floor and touch their mouths with their hands, are at greater risk of being affected by toxic carpet particles. Molds can grow on dirty carpets and attract bacteria and allergens.

When inhaled, it can cause flu-like symptoms and other respiratory problems. Old carpets also retain particles and allergens that cause allergic reactions. If you've noticed an increase in allergy symptoms, your old carpet could be the culprit. If this is the case, it is best to remove and replace it as soon as possible.

More recently, carpet manufacturers have argued that previous evaluations were outdated and that modern carpets present no problems, even for people with asthma and allergies. They may seem harmless to the naked eye, but beneath the surface, carpets can contain hundreds of allergens and pathogens, from dust mites and pet dander to mold spores, bacteria and animal feces. Bramwell and his collaborators obtained similar results in camera studies, which discovered that the type of floor can significantly affect the average daily exposure time to coarse-grained and fine particles, and that high-density cut hair carpets generated the highest exposures. It should be noted that neither the presence of such contaminants in the carpet nor their resuspension are necessarily related to health consequences, unless the contaminants are hazardous and the level of exposure is high enough to cause adverse effects.

Unlike hard and semi-hard coatings, carpets can hide dirt and dust that don't form visible aggregates. If you're already thinking about updating your carpet, be sure to choose a rug made from natural fibers and materials. In fact, using a regular vacuum will simply reorganize the dirt without removing the particles hidden deep in the carpet. Therefore, caution should be taken when using carpeted floors in homes, schools, kindergartens and offices, unless carpets are preferred for special needs.

Carpet beetle larvae are red or tan in color and shed their skin or “shell” regularly, which is what you'll see most often if they're in your home. In addition to the myriad of physical illnesses that can result from a dirty carpet, your mental health can also be affected. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, mold can go unnoticed and is even more common on basement carpets. In the case of particles in a size fraction of 0.4 to 3.0 µm, the differences in agitated amounts were not significantly different between carpeted and hardwood floors.

However, the carpet industry says that emissions from new carpets are low and last a short time. More knowledge is still needed about the potential health impacts of carpet floors, especially based on the new types of carpeted floors that have come on the market in recent years.

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