Assessing chemicals found in carpet

A nonprofit environmental group released a report showing chemicals which may cause health problems, were detected in a number of carpet samples.

The group Ecology Center tested both carpets sold in the U.S. and the EU. The test found six of the 12 carpets sold in the U.S. had chemicals known as PFAS present.

PFAS are what’s known as endocrine disruptors. Dr. Nora Demers with FGCU says she’s been studying the effects of these chemicals since the 1990’s. She says when chemicals like this are found in the home, they can especially affect young children, pregnant women, women who are going to get pregnant and even our pets.

“These chemicals are getting into our bodies either through our skin or through ingestion, and they’re disrupting virtually every system in our body,” she explained. “They affect our immune system, our reproductive system, our behavior, they effect neurology, they have implications in asthma, obesity, ADHD.”

Unlike other potentially harmful chemicals, you don’t need to be exposed to a lot of it, to be affected.

“Even at the very, very low concentrations, they have a very big impact,” she explained.

And Dr. Demers says the effects may not show up for decades.

“It’s not like smoking cigarettes and getting cancer. It’s much more complex it’s much more it’s scary,” she said. “… it’s sad to realize that something your mother may have exposed herself to when she was a child or her mother was exposed while pregnant with you might be impacting your grandchildren.”

There are ways you can limit your exposure if you think these chemicals may be in your carpet. First Dr. Demers says if you can afford to, you can replace your flooring. Second, vacuum a few times a week with a device that has a good filter. Third, invest in an all natural area rug and put it over the carpet to keep your exposure to a minimum.

We reached out to the Carpet and Rug Institute for a comment on the study. They sent us the following statement:

“The carpet industry places the highest priority on the health and well-being of people and the protection of the environment, creating safe and sustainable products for homes, schools and commercial spaces.”

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney