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New Carpet Off-Gassing and VOCs

new carpet off-gassing offgassing off gassing voc vocs

The evaporation of chemicals into the air from a new product is called off-gassing. Off-gassing products release volatile organic compounds, more commonly referred to as VOCs, and small particulate substances during the life of the product.

There are numerous household products are releasing VOCs and other chemicals into our homes, literally from floor to ceiling. For example, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that off-gasses. It is used in many wood types of glue and finishes. Also, mattresses containing synthetic materials are offenders. A few other blameworthy partakers include:

  • furniture
  • plastics
  • cars
  • clothing
  • cosmetics
  • water bottles
  • dryer sheets
  • air fresheners
  • nail polish remover
  • electronics
  • non-stick pans
  • laser printers and photocopiers
  • household cleaners
  • vinyl flooring
  • wall paint
  • particleboard
  • plywood
  • insulation
  • and yes, carpeting is one of them

Synthetic carpets are made from nylon fibers with a polypropylene backing. Of the chemicals released from carpet, most noticeable are styrene and 4-phenlycyclohexane (4-PC), both of which come from the latex backing used on 95 percent of carpets. The “new carpet” aroma is the odor of 4-PC off-gassing.

However, carpet is one of the lowest emitters of VOCs among household furnishings and building materials. Shaw carpets meet the industry's highest VOC standard, the Carpet & Rug Institute's Green Label Plus program.

Carpets can emit VOCs for five years or possibly more. However, the off-gassing decreases significantly several months after installation. The Environmental Protection Agency advises ventilating the area well for at least 72 hours after installation. All you need to do is open windows and use fans that move air directly outdoors. Also, using fans during installation and continuing to do so for several weeks afterward is helpful. Another recommendation is to vacuum the new carpet with a HEPA filter vacuum and clean with a hot water extraction method, which can remove a good portion of the VOCs. If possible, take a vacation soon afterward.

Flooring manufacturers provide several eco-friendly products for environmentally conscious buyers.

Shaw carpets made of Anso nylon can be recycled and remade into new carpet fiber. In short, the technique helps to turn carpet into a renewable product and saves landfills from carpet waste. Shaw's ClearTouch carpets contain a minimum of 25% recycled content created from plastic bottles. Furthermore, Shaw's ClearTouch Platinum carpets contain a minimum of 50% recycled content. That's massive!

For more flooring information, feel free to browse our website and blog or stop into one of Creative Carpet & Flooring’s showrooms today.

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