While carpets can provide resilient padding beneath tumbling toddlers, and a warm, cozy surface for children playing on the floor, they can also release dust and fumes that cause sniffles, headaches and other health problems.
Wall-to-wall carpeting, which is secured to the floor, cannot be picked up for washing, but that’s only part of the problem. It’s important to keep in mind that wall-to-wall carpet is really a carpeting system, which includes the backing, underlay and various glues. Many synthetic carpeting systems, such as those using nylon or polyester fiber, contain toxic chemicals derived from petroleum.
These “volatile organic chemicals,” or VOCs, can evaporate, or “offgas” out of carpets into the air we breathe, says John Bower, author of “The Healthy House Book (Healthy House Institute, 2001). Often, the glues, backing or carpet pads can be more problematic than the carpet itself. VOCs (also emitted by many cleaners, pesticides, paints, sealants, and pressed woods) are heavier than air. Therefore, along with tracked or blown-in-dust and soot, they settle on the floor — and into carpets. Because children play on the floor, if there’s anything troublesome in the carpet, they get the brunt of it.
The first picture shows the room in question, to the left. I removed the carpet, as well as the underlying foam and original glue.
This second picture shows the same room in question, at a very similar angle, and shows a very clean, shiny and well installed floor.
From Carpet to Hardwood