Heat and UV Cause Chemical Gas from Rugs


The natural effects of UV and heat promote aging in whatever they hit.  Whether it is your carpet, furniture, or your skin, the heat and radiation causes oxidation, the same process used in cooking food, which then causes deterioration.  When we combine this effect with another recent phenomenon, the rise of plastics and glues in our carpeting and rugs, it brings a negative health risk to us all.

Thanks to Sea Green Natural Blog for noticing another benefit to using window tint.  In the past, rugs were made almost completely of organic material like wool or cotton with traditional natural backing materials.  Now, the rugs themselves are almost completely synthetic fiber with plastic backing and myriads of glues and adhesives used in not only the rug itself, but also installation of the rug on the floor.

These glues and adhesives deteriorate when exposed to UV and heat, releasing noxious chemicals in the process including such fun chemicals as:

Synthetic carpets are made from nylon fibers with a polypropylene backing. Of the chemicals released from carpet, most notable are styrene and 4-phenylcyclohexane (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, which is an eye– and respiratory-tract irritant that may also affect the central nervous system. The adhesive used to affix the carpet to the floor typically contains benzene and toluene, some of the most harmful VOCs.

Each of us reacts differently to the chemical stew we face on a daily basis, and recognizing such health effects may be difficult. Typical reactions to new carpet VOCs include headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, and asthmatic reactions. Longer-term effects are also possible; the CHE lists benzene as having a strong link to leukemia and lymphomas, while styrene is associated with cognitive impairment and hearing loss, among other conditions.

From Ecology Center

Other effects for those sensitive to chemical off-gassing include allergy-like symptoms.  Some suggestions for avoiding this VOC situation include using natural carpeting or hard flooring alternatives.  Install window film to block 99% of UV and 50% of heat from entering your home.

Good luck and healthy living to you all.



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