According to the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the following myths have been identified as the top ten most persistent misconceptions:
“There are health risks associated with carpet”
An extensive toxicological assessment of components of carpet concluded that the chemicals in carpet pose no health risks of public concern.
“Mould and mildew can grow in carpet”
Mould and mildew exist ONLY where there is excess moisture and dirt coupled with poor cleaning and maintenance habits. Mould growth can occur on any surface from window panes to carpet that is not properly maintained and when moisture is extreme.
“Carpet is a cause for asthma and allergy increase”
Comparison data from Sweden supports that there is no link between carpet usage and the incidence of asthma or allergies. The CRI is not aware of any published scientific research demonstrating a link between carpet and asthma or allergies.
“Carpet is a sink for allergy-causing substances”
This is true as stated. The critical point, however, is often missed. Carpet holds allergen-causing substances tightly and, as a result, keeps allergens from becoming airborne, minimizing the level of allergens in the breathing zone. This translates to lower exposure potential. The allergens held by carpets filter-like effect may be removed by vacuuming, refreshing the filter-like properties of the carpet to allow more material to be removed from the air. Vacuuming mattresses, carpet and upholstery once or twice a week removes allergens, including dust mite feces a known source of allergen. It is important to use the proper type of vacuum to minimize re-suspending allergens.
“Carpet is a source of indoor air quality (IAQ) problems”
As noted previously, an extensive toxicological assessment of components of, and emissions from, carpet concluded that the chemicals in carpet "present no health risks of public health concern." Further, allergens in carpet may be removed by vacuuming. Vacuum cleaner machines bearing the CRI indoor air quality Green Label meet scientifically established standards for soil removal and dust containment and help maintain good carpet appearance.
“Carpet is more expensive and harder to maintain than hard-floor surfaces”
Properly maintained carpet only needs vacuuming once or twice weekly and periodic extraction cleaning. The sweeping, mopping, stripping, waxing and buffing that hard surface floors demand are more laborious and costly.
“Carpet is environmentally non-sustainable”
The CRI member companies, representing over 90 percent of the industry’s manufacturers, have an excellent track record over the last dozen years of decreasing wastes produced and energy consumed, improving the industry’s sustainability.
“Carpet is a major emitter of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)”
Most new interior furnishings and building materials emit VOCs for a period of time. Emissions from new carpet are among the lowest of any household’s indoor furnishings and most VOCs dissipate within 24 hours, even faster with good ventilation.
“Formaldehyde is used in the production of new carpet”
Formaldehyde is not used in the carpet manufacturing process. It is not emitted from new carpet.
“Latex in carpet produces allergic reaction”
The latex that holds the fibres and backing together in broadloom carpet is synthetic. Synthetic latex is not associated with the allergic reactions.