Transformation Tuesday: Is Carpet Actually GOOD for Indoor Air Quality?

Reader Contribution by Jessica Kellner
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This Transformation Tuesday has me a little shocked. Our good friends at Jetson Green (if you don’t subsribe to their e-newsletter, you really should!) released a fascinating report yesterday that I must share. New research from Europe is questioning the long-standing belief by indoor air specialists and doctors alike that carpet negatively affects indoor air quality and should be removed in favor of hard flooring, particularly for those with asthma and allergies. Cradle-to-Cradle Dutch carpet company Desso has a line of carpet called AirMaster Gold that independent studies have shown can reduce the concentration of microscopic particulate matter inside the home eight times better than hardwood floors! This challenges the long-standing belief that carpet, which collects particulate matter and allows it to build up inside the home, worsens air quality. Research by The German Allergy and Asthma Association found that hard flooring allows particulate matter to get kicked back up into the air, whereas carpet captures it and holds it, allowing it to be vacuumed up and disposed of, rather than floating around the house. AirMaster carpet is apparently four times more effective than your average carpet at sequestering particulate matter, and researchers found that particulate matter detached easier from AirMaster carpet fibers than other test subjects when vacuumed. Desso also offers Econyl yarn, made from 100 percent recycled content, which makes up 60 percent of their carpet tile line. Desso isn’t available in the US, but this research is big news for those of us who have long been told (and told others) that carpet is an absolute no-no in a healthy home. Do keep in mind, most conventional carpets have additional environmental issues along with their allergen-trapping abilities–they’re made with unsustainable materials and many include toxic chemicals and glues. I’m not suggesting anyone should rush out and cover their home in wall-to-wall shag. But it’s always interesting to find out that a long-held belief might not be totally true.