Are New Carpet Fumes Harmful?
The installation of new carpet inside your home can trigger both a spike in your home’s indoor air quality and potentially your health. The smell of ‘new’ can often times be a desirable odor that many love, particularly when we are discussing the smell of a new car. However, the construction of this ‘new’ odor is actually an amalgam of hazardous chemicals including VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that can significantly alter the quality of the air in the environment.
VOCs are a combination of toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, as well as benzene and toluene. When these chemicals are present in your air for an extended period of time, the result can be a contaminated environment and potentially serious health effects.
Formaldehyde in Carpet
New carpeting inside a room can produce and emit a large quantity of chemicals into the air within the first 72 hours after installation. One of the most hazardous chemicals released from this new carpet is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is classified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a colorless chemical that turns into a flammable gas at room temperature – this will create a strong odor throughout the environment. When carpeting is installed, there is padding, or insulation added to provide the carpeting with the soft padded feeling associated with carpeting.
Among installation of the carpeting, the formaldehyde from the carpeting and padding will regulate to room temperature which will cause this hazardous VOC to turn into a gas and begin its process of off-gassing into the air. This off-gassing will lead to a strong potent odor within the entire environment.
Toxic Carpet Symptoms
The health hazards that this VOC can inflict on an individual who has been exposed will depend on the amount of formaldehyde in the environment and the length of exposure. The formaldehyde will cause the following symptoms upon exposure:
✓ Nasal and eye irritation
✓ Neurological effects
✓ and increased risk of asthma and/or allergies.
How to Remove New Carpet Smell
When you have new carpet installed inside your home, there are certain steps you will want to implement to reduce and eliminate risks of exposure to off-gassing VOCs from the new carpeting. The EPA recommends that you open windows and air out the area, in an effort to flush the chemicals from the air. If you want to speed up the process of removing these potentially toxic VOCs from your air, an air purifier will assist you in this removal process.
Air purifiers come in a variety of forms – each using different technologies that are known to be more effective against specific airborne contaminants over others. Be sure to look for an efficient VOC eliminating air purifier that is capable of removing a broad spectrum of VOCs from the air.
Below are tests that shows the effectiveness of different air purifiers against VOC elimination from the air.
Air Purifier Comparison Testing Against Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
In this chamber study, a volatile organic chemical was released in an environmental chamber under ambient conditions. The various air systems and technologies were remotely controlled to not disturb the environment. The IQAir was the air system that was able to remove the chemical the quickest, but since the system uses carbon media, the chemical has the potential to be released back into the atmosphere with an increase in temperature or changes to humidity and pressure. In some of our real-world evaluations, we have seen carbon systems start to desorb VOCs as the temperature rises towards only 80 degrees.
The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier out performed the Blue Air and MoleKule system, while also offering more than just physical absorption. The EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge works though a combination of physical and chemical mechanisms.
Frequently Asked Questions – New Carpeting Dangers
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