Study finds toxic substances in all 12 carpets tested

Ecology Center says carpets can be dangerous

By Hank Winchester - Reporter, Frank McGeorge - Reporter, Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - A new study revealed carpets can be dangerous due to toxic substances.

The study found 44 toxic substances in all 12 of the carpets tested.

Carpet is the most common flooring sold in the United States. It holds a 60 percent share of the U.S. flooring market with 11 billion square feet sold per year.

A new report from the Ecology Center reveals 12 different carpets were tested from the nation's six largest manufacturers and all 12 tested positive for toxic substances.

The carpets were from popular manufacturers such as J+J Engineered Flooring, Interface, Milliken, Mohawk, Shaw Flooring and Tandus Centiva.

Some of the carpets can even be found in major retailers across the country, according to the study.

Researches said there's a couple of ways the toxic chemicals can get into people's bodies: during disposal and by crawling on them.

Four billion pounds of carpets are dumped in landfills or burned in incinerators, releasing deadly pollutants into the air, soil and water.

One researcher pointed out the California wildfires released tons of chemicals, increasing the toxicity of the air people breathe.

The most pressing issue for parents is that babies and children spent a lot of time crawling around on carpet, picking up the substances and breathing them.

The study was released as a call to action for the carpet industry to change how it's making carpets. There's nothing consumers can do to change the issue, according to officials.

Even recycled carpets on the list tested positive for toxic substances.

One of the largest manufacturers, Shaw, contained high levels of six different types of PFAs.

One of the most notable chemicals identified in carpeting were PFAs, which is a hot topic in Michigan since they've also been found contaminating soil and water around the state.

The other most common chemical identified was phthalates, which used to be common in children's toys.

The issue with PFAs is that they accumulate in our bodies and build up over time. Research into what PFAs cause is ongoing, but there's evidence that it has effects on infant birth weight, the immune system, thyroid function and cancer.

Phthalates have been linked to hormone disruptions, reproductive problems and some cancers.

The biggest issue is that children are disproportionately affected because they crawl on carpets and frequently put things in their mouths.

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