Both the workshop and the development of this manuscript were supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, grant G-2018-11240. The authors would also like to thank Ginger Chew (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for reviewing the manuscript. We also would like to thank workshop participants Joe Hughes (IAQ Training Institute), Jim Williams (Mohawk Industries), Julie Brumbelow (Shaw Industries), Paul Tucker (Carpet and Rug Institute), Heather Allen (The Ohio State University), and Jordan Clark (The Ohio State University) for sharing their perspectives.
Building and Environment
Atmospheric ozone, Indoor air quality, Air pollutants, Carpets
Carpet and rugs currently represent about half of the United States flooring market and offer many benefits as a flooring type. How carpets influence our exposure to both microorganisms and chemicals in indoor environments has important health implications but is not well understood. The goal of this manuscript is to consolidate what is known about how carpet impacts indoor chemistry and microbiology, as well as to identify the important research gaps that remain. After describing the current use of carpet indoors, questions focus on five specific areas: 1) indoor chemistry, 2) indoor microbiology, 3) resuspension and exposure, 4) current practices and future needs, and 5) sustainability. Overall, it is clear that carpet can influence our exposures to particles and volatile compounds in the indoor environment by acting as a direct source, as a reservoir of environmental contaminants, and as a surface supporting chemical and biological transformations. However, the health implications of these processes are not well known, nor how cleaning practices could be optimized to minimize potential negative impacts. Current standards and recommendations focus largely on carpets as a primary source of chemicals and on limiting moisture that would support microbial growth. Future research should consider enhancing knowledge related to the impact of carpet in the indoor environment and how we might improve the design and maintenance of this common material to reduce our exposure to harmful contaminants while retaining the benefits to consumers.
Locate the Document
Haines, S. R., Adams, R. I., Boor, B. E., Bruton, T. A., Downey, J., Ferro, A. R., ... & Jacobs, D. E. (2020). Ten questions concerning the implications of carpet on indoor chemistry and microbiology. Building and Environment, 170, 106589.