At a time when health considerations are paramount in South Africa, commercial property developers and home-owners can rest assured: office carpets do not contribute to human allergy, asthma or respiratory problems – providing they are kept clean, says leading flooring supplier and installer, KBAC Flooring.
Studies have shown that clean carpeting is a totally safe flooring option for all allergy sufferers, says Werner Gouws, Senior Contracts Manager of KBAC Flooring, which is now completing 50 years of operations.
“Carpet has, for many years, unjustly been blamed for aggravating allergies. The truth is that clean carpets are actually beneficial to health. Carpets act like a filter, trapping allergens and keeping them out of the air office workers breathe. These trapped allergens – such as pollen, dust, fungi and, in homes, pet dander – can then easily be removed through proper cleaning techniques and equipment. The same cannot be said of some alternative flooring types,” Werner contends.
The American-based United Allergy Services (UAS), an organisation established to advance the understanding of immunotherapy as the best kind of allergy treatment, found that although 60 million Americans suffered from respiratory ailments, it was a misconception that carpets were bad for people with allergies. On its website, UAS cites a 15-year on-going Swedish study that has also shown no link between carpet and allergy and asthma attacks. In fact, when carpet usage was decreased in Sweden, allergy reactions increased.
UAS itself conducted a study of school children in New Jersey which showed that having a carpet in a child’s room was associated with fewer missed school days and dropped the need for asthma medication.
KBAC believes a lack of cleanliness and poor ventilation are the biggest contributors to allergies in homes and offices.
“KBAC has a policy of advising all our clients about the need for regular carpet cleaning and general maintenance, not only to prevent allergy symptoms, but also to prolong the life of the carpet,” Werner states. “Most soil is transferred into a facility by foot traffic. KBAC therefore advocates that effective, specialist dirt barrier matting should be installed at external entrances, goods lifts, loading docks and adjoining hard areas. The special tough barrier matting should be maintained and serviced daily. In areas with heavy foot traffic, the matting might even have to be cleaned several times daily. The correct type of barrier matting also helps to prevent dust and moisture reaching the internal carpets.”
KBAC Flooring is the local distributor for some of world’s leading carpet producers which, without exception, are heavily involved in environmental-protection policies and producing carpets protecting the health of users in various innovative fashions. “These globally-respected producers KBAC represents have changed their raw materials and manufacturing processes to reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or have introduced new glue-free installation systems.
“It should also be remembered that to reduce allergy reactions in homes and offices, not only carpeting but all indoor pollution sources should be considered. New building materials, furnishing, draperies and blinds also need to be cleaned regularly. A host of microscopic allergens attach themselves to such fittings and could be a major culprit for poor hygiene in the home and workplace,” Werner added.