Off-gassing has been floating around online as something we should fear from our carpeting. But first, what is off-gassing anyway? Off-gassing refers to possible volatile organic compounds or VOCs and chemicals being emitted from new furniture or similar household materials. Some people confuse that new carpet smell with the off-gassing of VOCs. But, let’s take a look at the facts.
If one looks up the term “off-gassing,” they will likely be met with scary headlines that claim household materials can cause serious health issues. These are some frightening claims, but as many of us would like to install new beautiful carpeting in our homes, it’s important to get at the truth and take some time to address these concerns.
First, it is said that carpet is one of the lowest emitters of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) among household furnishings and building materials. And, carpeting sold at trusted flooring companies goes through extensive indoor air quality tests before it even reaches the stores. An easy way to find out the level of standards for a particular carpet is by looking for a green label. ‘ Green Label,’ from the Carpet and Rug Institute, ensures that customers are purchasing the lowest emitting carpet, adhesive and cushion products on the market.
All-in-all, new carpet smell does not equal leaking chemicals. And, claims that formaldehyde is being emitted by off-gassing, another thing one might find online, is simply untrue. Formaldehyde is not a concern as it is no longer used in the manufacturing process in the United States. In fact, scientific studies now show that carpet is one of the lowest emitters of volatile organic compounds (VOCS) into the indoor environment. And, carpet has recently been proven to emit less VOCs than other household interior products like wall paint.
Although some love that new carpet smell, it may not be everyone’s favorite aroma. If this is the case, it is a good idea to open the windows after a carpet installation to allow the room to air out for a while. What VOCs new carpet may emit are short-lived and largely dissipate within 24 to 48 hours. And, this occurs even faster with fresh air ventilation.
The best way to find out about the safety of carpeting for the home is by speaking to carpet professionals and by asking questions. Flooring and carpeting professionals are well-versed in all things carpeting and will be able to address your concerns. They should be able to show you proof that the carpeting you’ve chosen has been given the Green Label and has gone through the proper testing.