It's still mystifies me, as to why people like carpeting so much. Here, tying my hardest not to be biased, I'm going to look at a little history that brought forth the love for carpeting, point out facts about health concerns associated to carpeting and then give people alternatives that will give a bit of a weening affect off yucky carpets... oh, sorry, I was supposed to be non biased... retract, retract, ha-ha.
A little History
"The U.S. industry accounts for about 45% of the world’s carpet production", says Randall L. Patton, Kennesaw State University. He continues to say, "The early American carpet industry was, like other textile segments, a product of borrowed (from the United Kingdom) technology and skill that struggled throughout its existence against imports. The second American carpet industry grew from deep southern roots and utilized locally developed technology and skills and also came along at just the right time to ride the boom in consumer spending associated with the economic golden age that followed World War II".
Look, I'm just like the next guy, carpets are comfy, nice to walk on, gives for a warm feeling and if you happen to be at the bottom and have others at the top of your home or live in a condo or apartment with neighbors that have a lead foot, carpets are really nice to muffle the sounds. But look at why they just may not be the healthiest option.
Bacteria and Viruses
Did you know that still today 70% of the homes in the U.S. have carpeting, I was shocked! I wounder if they know the health complications carpeting can bring to them and their children if they too would be in shock. Just imagine all of the places you walk in to on any given day; a public restroom, the street, subways, restaurants, day care centers, hospitals, your work environment. All of these are swarming with bacteria and other biological agents that get transferred onto your shoes and then, when you come home, onto your carpet. According to one expert, Phillip Tierno, director of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, NYU, "your carpet may contain 200,000 bacteria per square inch, which would make it 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat". He says hundreds of thousands of bacterial species live in carpets, including E. coli, salmonella, staphylococcus and more. It’s bad enough if you’re an adult walking barefoot on said carpet, but for babies and toddlers, who crawl around on the carpet and put their hands in their mouths, it can be quite dangerous.
Carpet can absorb and hold moisture, making it a prime spot for biological pollutants, like mold, to grow. This is especially true if the carpet is installed in a bathroom (THIS IS A COMPLETE NO NO) or other area exposed to lots of moisture, or if it’s placed over a concrete floor, but even seemingly clean carpeting and its padding can harbor mold and other fungi.
Indoor Air pollution
Okay, It's great that you take off your shoes and you have your visitors do the same, but let's take a closer look. Did you know that carpet is a synthetic material and made from petroleum byproducts, nylon, acrylic, PVC and more. These substances out-gas toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde into your home’s air. It’s because of synthetic materials like carpeting that indoor air pollution may be 2 to 5 times and occasionally more than 100 times higher than outdoor pollutant levels.
Aside from the chemicals inherent in the carpeting materials, carpet is a known repository for chemicals from your home. Cleaning chemicals, cigarette smoke, pesticides, fumes from mothballs or deodorizers … all of these can fall to the floor and linger in carpeting, from which it is slowly released over a long period of time ranging from a few days to months or years. Cleaning will do nothing to remove such toxins, as they typically migrate into the padding below.
Indoor air pollution is a health risk. For instance, VOCs have been linked to cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. While short-term exposure to indoor air pollutants is linked to asthma, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and eye/nose irritation, long-term exposure is associated with respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.
If you have to have carpets, use area carpets and have them cleaned regularly. Don't have them in kids playrooms or bedrooms.