A week or so ago, I found myself vacuuming the stairs with the hand-held vac, and so getting an up close and personal look at the carpet. "This carpet is repulsive!" I thought. "What kinds of vile life-forms might be living where the vacuum can't reach?" Well, DarwinCatholic exists so that you, the reader, don't have to do this kind of research. Here's what I came up with after a brief Google search of "carpet allergen asthma":
A BBC report gives us the lowdown on dust mites:
Dr Warner said up to 100,000 dust mites can live in just one square metre of carpet alone.
The droppings of these tiny creatures are believed to stimulate asthma and other allergic responses.
Carpets also harbour material from pets such as cats and dogs which is also thought to be a leading cause of allergy.
Dr Warner told the BBC: "House dust mites like to live in dark and damp environments and we find a lot of them at the base of the carpet.
"When you consider that each one of them produces 20 faecal particles every day, and that is where we find the allergen then there are an awful lot in a house full of fitted carpets."
Here's a little Q & A from the Carpet and Rug Institute FAQ Page:
My child has asthma, I want carpet but what do I look for?CRI is not aware of any published scientific research demonstrating a link between carpet and asthma or allergies. Look for green label carpets and cushions, plan for good ventilation during the installation process and plan for routine vacuuming with a green label vacuum. We are not aware that any particular product is better than any other.
I have dust and pollen allergies, I want carpet but how will this affect my allergies?People that have allergies should vacuum their carpet at least twice a week and have their carpet cleaned the way the manufacturer specifies approximately every 12 to 18 months. Carpet is an asset for allergy sufferers as it traps the dust versus a hard surface where dust lays on top of the surface to be kicked back into our breathing zone. We recommend using a vacuum with good dust containment and performance properties such as those in our green label vacuum program.
A article at Care2, an environmental website, recommends against wall-to-wall carpet:
"Wall-to-wall carpets are a sink for dirt, dust mites, molds and pesticide residues. I much prefer smaller washable carpets of natural fiber," says Philip Landrigan, M.D., director of the center for children's environmental health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Washing in hot water kills dust mites, microscopic creatures whose plentiful droppings are a top asthma and allergy trigger, Dr. Landrigan explains. Another benefit: you can also regularly clean the floor underneath, defeating dust buildup. Just be sure to put a non-slip pad under area rugs.I was already prejudiced against carpet, but I'm glad to find my suspicions confirmed. In fairness, however, I must note that a doctor in the BBC article stated that beds harbor far more dust mites than carpet. Yeah, but I like my bed! I'd rather get rid of the carpet.
Here's what I really want: