Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review
2. Materials and Methods
- Allergen levels, carpets, smooth floors: nine publications.
- Carpets, adverse health effects: 149 publications.
- Asthma, allergy, indoor environment, carpets: 61 publications.
- Asthma and allergy associated with carpets: 59 publications.
- Carpets, respiratory disease: 215 publications.
- Flooring type, health impact: eight publications.
3.1. The Carpet as a Possible Source of Exposure
3.2. Carpets and Adverse Health Outcomes
Conflicts of Interest
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|Authors [Reference]||Type of Study||Results|
|Dybendal et al. ||Comparison of dust, proteins and allergens from carpeted and smooth floors in homes and schools in Norway.||Carpeted floors in schools and homes contained significantly more dust, proteins, and allergens than smooth floors.|
|Van Strien et al. ||Measurements of mite allergen concentrations in floor- and mattress dust in dwellings.||Mite allergen concentrations in dust from carpeted floors were 6–14 times higher than in dust from smooth floors.|
|Zock et al. ||Comparison of house dust mite allergen levels in dust from schools with smooth and carpeted classroom floors.||More house dust mite allergen in dust from carpeted classroom floors than from smooth classroom floors, but the levels were much lower than in dust from floors in homes.|
|Tranter ||Review article.||Higher concentrations of allergens consistently found in carpets compared with smooth floors. Carpet vacuuming seems to remove larger particles but not the allergen-associated smaller particles whereas smooth floor cleaning appears more efficient regarding removal of these smaller particles.|
|Causer et al. ||Effect of carpet construction on content and vertical distribution of mite allergen.||Significantly higher concentrations of allergens from house dust mites have been reported in rooms with carpet floors no matter how the carpets were made compared to hard/smooth floors.|
|Arbes et al. ||Levels of seven indoor allergens in 89 day-care facilities in two North Carolina counties. Dust samples were collected from carpeted and non-carpeted areas of one room each place.||Levels of several antigens were statistically higher on carpet than on hard surfaced flooring. For dog and cat allergens, the differences were clinically significant, with mean levels on hard floors being well below proposed thresholds for allergic sensitization.|
|Cho et al. ||The effect of home characteristics on dust antigen concentrations in homes.||Carpeted floor held larger amount of antigens than non-carpeted floor.|
|Matheson et al. ||Residential characteristics predict changes in Der p 1, Fel d 1 and ergosterol but not fungi over time.||Installation of carpets caused an increased exposure to allergens from house dust mites. Removal of carpets significantly reduced the levels of both mite allergens and ergosterol, a cell wall component of molds.|
|Dahl et al. ||Textile floor coverings as part of indoor environment.||Significantly larger amount of dust and viable microorganisms in carpet floors compared to hard floors did not result in observed differences in dust fall rates on inventory surfaces or particle content in room air.|
|Salo et al. ||Investigation of indoor allergens in school and day care environments.||Carpeted floors, upholstered furniture and clothes were important reservoirs and sources of allergens, especially from dust mites and pets.|
|Ashley et al. ||Evaluation of a standardized micro-vacuum sampling method for collection of surface dust.||When comparing the recovery fraction obtained by vacuuming of standardized dust applied to various surfaces, significantly lower amounts were obtained from rough and porous surfaces compared with smooth and hard surfaces and with the lowest recovery from carpets.|
|Stranger et al. ||Comparative study of indoor air quality in Belgian schools.||The ratio between indoor air and outdoor air amounts of particulate matter (<2.5 mm) was significantly higher for classrooms with carpeted floors compared with classroom without carpet floor. This indicated that carpets may increase the amount of resuspended dust.|
|Tian et al. ||A comparative study of walking-induced dust resuspension using a consistent test mechanism.||For particle size 3.0–10.0 µm, carpets exhibited higher resuspension fractions compared with hard floorings. The results support that people sensitive to allergens could select hard floorings to reduce exposure and adverse health outcomes.|
|Bramwell et al. ||An evaluation of the impact of flooring types on exposures to fine and coarse particles.||Flooring type can significantly impact incremental time-averaged daily exposures to coarse and fine particles and that high-density cut pile carpeting resulted in the highest exposures.|
|Paton et al. ||Study of re-aerosolization of spores from flooring surfaces.||Walking on a carpet generated significantly more re-aerosolization of spores than walking on PVC. Heavy contra light walking as well as height above the flooring material where sampling was done all had an impact on the amount of re-aerosolization levels.|
|Siming et al. ||Chamber study.||Higher resuspension rates of particles from carpets compared to wood PVC and vinyl materials.|
|Salimifard et al. ||Chamber study.||Carpet surfaces yields higher resuspension rate than linoleum surface at the same humidity level.|
|Scheepers et al. ||The effect on indoor air quality of new carpet combined with air filtration investigated in classrooms.||The combination resulted in reduced levels of particles and VOC in air compared with hard floors alone. No assessment was done on carpets alone.|
|Authors [Reference]||Type of Study||Results|
|Norbäck et al. .||Longitudinal. Questionnaire. (Initial cross-sectional study with self-reporting of symptoms followed by later questionnaire).||Personnel in schools with wall-to-wall carpet reported increased prevalence of eye and airway symptoms, face rashes, headache and abnormal tiredness compared with those in schools with hard floors. Removal of carpets caused several symptoms to decrease. Frequency of airway symptoms remained increased in the carpet group.|
|Norbäck et al. ||Longitudinal study.|
A four year study among personnel in six primary schools.
|Chronic SBS was related to VOC, previous wall to wall carpeting in the schools, hyperreactivity, and psychosocial factors.|
|Skov et al. ||Cross sectional (self-reported).|
2369 office workers in 14 buildings, where indoor climate measurements were made, filled out a questionnaire.
|Floor covering, the shelf factor and the fleece factor were among several factors associated with the prevalence of symptoms (work-related mucosal irritation and work related general symptoms).|
|Wargocki et al. ||Reversible intervention study.|
Experimental study with cross-over design. Persons unaware of intervention were exposed once with the pollution source present and once without the pollution source. Self-reporting of symptoms and evaluation of task performance.
|Pollution source was a 20 years old carpet. Removal of pollution source resulted in increased satisfaction with perceived indoor air, reduced prevalence of headaches and significantly faster typing of text. Reducing the pollution load was effective in improving comfort, health and productivity.|
|Wargocki et al. ||Reversible intervention study.|
Experimental study with a cross-over design. Persons unaware of the intervention. Self-reporting of symptoms and evaluation of task performance.
|Carpets used as pollution source. Overall productivity increased with increased ventilation. Results show that maintaining good indoor air quality by controlling indoor pollution sources and ensuring adequate ventilation important for comfort, health and productivity.|
|Wargocki et al. ||Reversible intervention study.|
Subjective assessments of perceived air quality, intensity of sick building syndrome symptoms and performance of office work.
|Removing the pollution source improved the perceived air quality, decreased the perceived dryness of air and the severity of headaches, and increased typing performance.|
|Bluyssen et al. ||Self-reported (Cross sectional study).||An increase in adverse health effects was observed in offices where carpet was the main type of floor covering.|
|Jaakkola et al. ||Cross sectional.|
(Population-based incident case-control study)
|The risk of asthma was related to the presence of plastic wall materials and wall-to-wall carpet at work, the latter in particular in the presence of mold problems (adjusted OR = 4.64, 95% CI: 1.11, 19.4).|
|Chen et al. ||A 1:2 matched case-control study. Self-reported.||Cockroaches, carpet, pets, and in-utero exposures to ETS affected the timing of early-onset asthma.|
|Ekici et al. ||Retrospectiv cross sectional.|
Parents and grandparents of schoolchildren were asked to answer questionnaires about respiratory system-related symptoms and characteristics in the children.
|Childhood respiratory infections associated with increased risk of asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic cough. Several factors including wall-to-wall carpets were associated with increased risk of frequent childhood respiratory infections.|
|Ferry et al. ||Longitudinal.|
Exposures to 17 environmental factors before the age of two were reported retrospectively.
|Individuals with early childhood asthma more likely to have lived in a house with carpet and more likely to report suffering a serious chest illness before the age of two compared to those with later asthma onset. Carpet exposure and suffering a serious chest illness concurrently before age two increased the individual risk even more.|
|Vicendese et al. ||Hospital-based case-control study.||Carpeted floors in the bedroom associated with increase in asthma readmissions (OR = 4.07, 95% CI 1.03–16.06).|
|Herr et al. ||Longitudinal (Birth cohort).|
Data on wheezing disorders, medical visits and medications, as well as biological markers of atopy, were collected at 18 months.
|Prevalence of wheeze was influenced by several factors where carpet covered floor in the child’s bedroom was one.|
|Liu et al. ||Cross-sectional study.||Bedroom carpets were one of several indoor factors associated with higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms.|
|Tsai et al. ||Genetic analysis and questionnaire about children’s exposure and disease status.||Genetic variation in the IL-13 gene affects health outcomes in the airways. This study indicated that variations in the IL-13 gene could be linked to asthma in children and that asthma disease was related to carpet use.|
|Zock et al. ||Housing data obtained by an interviewer-led questionnaire. Associations between housing data and asthma (based on symptoms the last year) as well as bronchial responsiveness were evaluated.||Carpets and rugs in the bedroom were related to less bronchial responsiveness and fewer asthma symptoms.|
|Behrens et al. ||Data from two cross sectional surveys 5 years apart.||Carpets were inversely associated with adverse respiratory conditions but not when the analysis was restricted to individuals with no report on carpet avoidance due to a history of atopic disease.|
|Skorge et al. ||Self-reported (Cross sectional study).||Wall to wall carpets in the bedroom was negatively associated with cough with phlegm, chronic cough, and attacks of dyspnoea.|
|Mommers et al. ||Nested case-control study. Part of a longitudinal study in children on respiratory health and indoor environment.||A negative association between asthma symptoms and wall-to-wall carpets was observed|
|Al-Zahrani et al. ||Cross sectional study||Carpets in the bedroom were among several factors that did not appear related to the extent of asthma control.|
|Voute et al. ||Longitudinal.|
Participating children had peak-flow measurements three times a day for a 1-month period. Concurrently, the parents recorded respiratory symptoms and medication use daily.
|Peak-flow variability in asthmatic children not related to wall-to-wall carpeting on classroom floors.|
|Jaakkola et al. ||Cross sectional.||Risk of current asthma, wheezing, and allergy in Russian children were related to recent renovation and the installation of materials with potential chemical emissions. This included new linoleum flooring and synthetic carpeting, particleboard which were determinants of one or several of the adverse health outcomes.|
|Herberth et al. ||Blood sampling, inflammatory markers.|
Within a birth cohort study, blood samples of 6 year old children were analysed for concentration of inflammatory markers.
|Increased levels of inflammatory markers were related to renovation activities, in particular, new floor covering. Among floor covering materials only wall-to-wall carpets were associated with elevated IL-8 and Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 (MCP-1) levels.|
|Ebbehøj et al. ||Intervention, cohort.||Workers developed skin and/or airway problems after renewal of offices (new furniture and carpets). Removal of carpets significantly improved symptoms. Workers were examined in 2009 and re-examined in 2013. Chemicals from glued carpets suspected as trigger.|
|Allermann et al. ||In vitro study.|
The inflammatory potency of floor dust was measured as interleukin-8 secretion from the lung epithelial cell line A549 after exposure to dust.
|Carpet flooring may act as a “sink” for microorganisms resulting in a higher inflammatory potency of floor dust|
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Becher, R.; Øvrevik, J.; Schwarze, P.E.; Nilsen, S.; Hongslo, J.K.; Bakke, J.V. Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020184
Becher R, Øvrevik J, Schwarze PE, Nilsen S, Hongslo JK, Bakke JV. Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018; 15(2):184. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020184Chicago/Turabian Style
Becher, Rune, Johan Øvrevik, Per E. Schwarze, Steinar Nilsen, Jan K. Hongslo, and Jan Vilhelm Bakke. 2018. "Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15, no. 2: 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020184