Sep 17, 2022
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Home carpet – a hotbed of dangerous diseases

Home carpet – a hotbed of dangerous diseases

Carpets can be the most dangerous item in a home. This conclusion was made by British scientists, who discovered in ordinary home carpets exorbitant concentrations of many toxic substances.

According to John Roberts, an environmental engineer and well-known household hygienist, these textiles may be one of the main reasons for the increase in children’s incidence of bronchial asthma, allergies, some other diseases and even cancer. Why do soft carpets create not only comfort in the house, but also a dangerous environment?


New, just bought carpet is safe. We turn it into a domestic Chernobyl ourselves. How? We bring a lot of toxic substances from the street on our soles, and our pets on their paws. And now in the summer, and then in the fall, until the snow falls, this mechanism of self-poisoning is especially relevant.

We bring many different carcinogens from the street, among them polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), etc. We also bring various heavy metals – lead, cadmium and mercury. Scientists find all this in carpets (see “Our reference”).

Another interesting carpet find is DDT. This pesticide has long been banned and not used. But in old carpets, which were still in that era, when high hopes were pinned on this most dangerous chemical, they simply find deposits of DDT. If they were stored not in a deep pile, but in the open air, then there would be no trace of them: DDT, though slowly, but still decomposes. And in the carpet, this toxic substance is stored much longer.


Plus, everything that is toxic in the house sooner or later finds shelter in the carpet. First of all, this is all our household chemicals that we use for cleanliness, comfort and control of domestic insects – powders, pastes, sprays, solutions. Sooner or later, a significant part of this chemistry gets to the carpet. For example, in one square meter of such a refuge for toxins, British experts found more than a gram of permethrin. This is several hundred times more than a regular spray with this household insecticide.


Scientists find in the carpets a variety of waste products of our “life activity”. For example, smokers’ carpets contain exorbitant concentrations of tobacco smoke toxins. American scientists have calculated that babies up to two years old, playing on a warm carpet, swallow up to 110 nanograms of benzopyrene daily.

About the same amount of this most dangerous tobacco carcinogen is swallowed by his parents, smoking three cigarettes. But for a child, this dose is much more dangerous: he is in a different weight category and his toxin neutralization systems are not as powerful as those of mom and dad.

Children generally get more from carpets. They spend a lot of time on them, playing, and then, already becoming adults and buying a carpet, nostalgically remember this wonderful time. Naturally, at the same time, they absorb a lot of harmful substances, licking their hands and inhaling the toxic mist that hovers thickly over the carpet during vigorous children’s games.


Why are aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury found in carpets dangerous for the body?

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are classified as carcinogens. In addition, they are very toxic to the liver and kidneys.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are potent carcinogens. This group of substances also includes benzopyrene contained in tobacco smoke.

Lead and mercury are especially harmful to developing fetuses and babies. They negatively affect the entire body, causing general asthenia. But lead has a particularly strong effect on the nervous system. It causes depression or aggression. Organic compounds of mercury and cadmium have a teratogenic effect (cause deformities in the fetus). In addition, cadmium enhances the toxic effects of lead.

To reduce the content of such harmful substances is possible only by creating an insurmountable barrier between the carpet, shoes and paws of pets. Unfortunately, the strict “access” regime between the street and the dwelling is often violated. Plus, it does not affect the content of household toxins in the carpet. Frequent vacuuming of carpets helps, but does not radically solve the problem.

Oleg Dneprov.


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