Dangerous Carpet Chemicals

jessicamurgs/ March 5, 2017/ Natural Home/ 0 comments

New carpet or rugs are a major source of toxic filth that enters the body through inhaling, ingestion or skin absorption of contaminated dusts or air. Studies have shown that there are over 200 chemicals in the mixtures of gases which are released by new carpeting and rugs. These chemicals are a mix of known carcinogens in addition to producing fetal abnormalities in test animals.

These chemicals are an even bigger threat to Infants and children as they are likely to crawl and play on the floor. This is of great concern given that infants and children, being at a stage when organs are developing, are already more susceptible to toxic insult from chemical exposure.

In this article, we will go over some of the most commonly used chemicals found in standard carpeting and offer some better alternatives.


  • New carpeting is a primary source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Common examples of VOCs include formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
  • VOC’s  pollute the air and may cause headaches, nausea ,dizziness and nerve problems, along with irritation to your eyes, nose, and throat.
  • VOCs can also be found in carpet padding and adhesives used for installation
  • New carpet installation is associated with wheezing and coughing in babies

 Flame Retardants

  • Flame retardants often contain PBDEs which are known to cause damage to thyroid, immune system and brain development functions in humans.

 Stain Repellents

  • Consumers are often persuaded to purchase the Stainmaster treatment. Carpets treated with this are generally treated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are grease and stain repellents. PFCs have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, birth defects, developmental defects, and immune suppression.

Moth Proofing Chemicals

  • Moth proofing chemicals contain naphthalene, which is known to produce toxic reactions, especially in newborns.

4-phenylcyclohexane (4-PC)

  • 4-PC is associated with eye, nose and upper respiratory problems and used in the latex backing of 95% of US carpets. This eye and respiratory-tract irritant that may also affect the central nervous system.

Other possible toxins: artificial dyes, antimicrobial treatments and finishes or sprays.

What about already existing older carpet?

Toxic chemicals from from older carpeting can still off-gas in your home and then cling to house dust, which is then inhaled. Moreover, long term exposures to these chemicals have been linked to asthma, kidney disease, liver damage and  cancer.

The Solution

Healthier, natural options are available for carpeting and rugs. For carpet, wool is a good option. For rugs, in addition to wool, hemp, jute and seagrass are becoming more common options. Still, ask and make sure the carpeting is free of flame retardants, chemicals or toxins.


Tell us your thoughts on carpet chemicals and there effects below.


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