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Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review

Domain of Infection Control and Environmental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, P.O. Box 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway
SINTEF Building and Infrastructure, Pb 124 Blindern, 0314 Oslo, Norway
The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, P.O. Box 4720 Sluppen, 7468 Trondheim, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 184;
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
Several earlier studies have shown the presence of more dust and allergens in carpets compared with non-carpeted floors. At the same time, adverse effects of carpeted floors on perceived indoor air quality as well as worsening of symptoms in individuals with asthma and allergies were reported. Avoiding extensive carpet use in offices, schools, kindergartens and bedrooms has therefore been recommended by several health authorities. More recently, carpet producers have argued that former assessments were obsolete and that modern rugs are unproblematic, even for those with asthma and allergies. To investigate whether the recommendation to be cautious with the use of carpets is still valid, or whether there are new data supporting that carpet flooring do not present a problem for indoor air quality and health, we have reviewed the literature on this matter. We have not found updated peer reviewed evidence that carpeted floor is unproblematic for the indoor environment. On the contrary, also more recent data support that carpets may act as a repository for pollutants which may become resuspended upon activity in the carpeted area. Also, the use of carpets is still linked to perception of reduced indoor air quality as well as adverse health effects as previously reported. To our knowledge, there are no publications that report on deposition of pollutants and adverse health outcomes associated with modern rugs. However, due to the three-dimensional structure of carpets, any carpet will to some extent act like a sink. Thus, continued caution should still be exercised when considering the use of wall-to-wall carpeted floors in schools, kindergartens and offices, as well as in children’s bedrooms unless special needs indicate that carpets are preferable. View Full-Text
Keywords: carpets; indoor air quality; health impact carpets; indoor air quality; health impact
MDPI and ACS Style

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.

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