Toxic Chemicals Found in Carpets

Scientists at three research institutions – Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; U.S. Ecology Center, Michigan; and the University of Notre Dame, Indiana – have analyzed carpet samples and found phthalates and per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFASs). Researchers rated 12 of the 15 samples studied as toxic.

In the 12 samples, the scientists found 3 types of phthalates, including DEHP. In individual samples, they also found flame retardants TCPP and TDCPP along with 8 PFASs. In preliminary measurements, they detected antimicrobials, bisphenol A (BPA), isocyanates, and nonylphenol. But according the report, Testing for Toxics, these findings must be verified by additional examinations.

Nevertheless, the authors regard the results as unsettling. The carpets are sold by the largest manufacturers in Europe. The researchers find the presence of DEHP as particularly critical, given that it was prohibited by the EU in 2015. The law does exempt carpets manufactured from recycled PVC, however. The authors feel that the results show how difficult it is to ban toxic substances from raw materials during the transition to the circular economy.

In March of this year, NGOs demanded that the EU Commission provide EU product guidelines for carpets to enable better monitoring of their contents.

The European Carpet and Rug Association (CRA) sees no need for action. On the contrary, its leaders questioned the methodology used and the interpretation of results and rejected the study.

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