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Luetke 2000 - Carpet and Airborne Allergens Literature...

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Carpet and Airborne Allergens Literature Review Overview, Summary, and Carpet IEQ References Written and Compiled by Alan E. Luedtke, Ph.D. for The Carpet and Rug Institute May, 2000
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Overview of Available Scientific Literature Pertaining to Floor Coverings and Indoor Air Quality The intent of this overview is to highlight some of the available scientific literature related to floor coverings and airborne dusts. In summary, there was no published research which established that exposures to airborne contaminants were substantially higher over carpet versus other interior surfaces. In fact the literature does not preclude the possibility that carpet may reduce or help control particles – supported by research which indicates deposition is a potentially significant removal mechanism for fungi and small particles, and work which demonstrates that small particles are difficult to resuspend. The following represent some general observations derived from the literature: Dust Compositions and Sources The outdoor environment was typically a major contributor to indoor settled dusts Carpet dust loadings per unit area tend to be higher than smooth floor dust loadings Vacuum cleaning with efficient filtraton is an effective way of reducing allergens (including mite) and dust loads in a room One paper estimates that approximately 1% of bulk carpet dust was on the “surface” and available for dermal contact; implied dermal exposures may actually be lower from properly maintained carpets than from smooth surfaces Airborne Dusts Indoor airborne dust levels tend to be driven largely by outdoor conditions and indoor activities with cooking and smoking major contributors to the latter Indoor/outdoor ratios of particles typically were < 1.0; the aforementioned activities can raise them as could some other activities such as cleaning (dusting, vacuuming, sweeping) - Simple movements could increase relative airborne concentrations of some particles, specifically those > 10 microns, however, smaller particles in the < 2 micron range did not change much from background levels - Data was sparse, but it did not appear from the literature that particle levels were on average higher over carpet than smooth flooring Small particles, sub-micron and up to about 2 micron, appeared to be very difficult to resuspend from interior surfaces Airborne Allergens Research indicates that airborne allergens are not significantly higher over carpet versus smooth floors; indoor levels were typically only a fraction of outdoor levels regardless of floor covering Mite allergen was rarely observed in the air over carpet (occasionally see small amounts with some vacuum cleaners) Only one of the reviewed papers discussed the impact of sweeping on airborne particles; otherwise the literature on the impacts of sweeping, dusting, or mopping hard surfaces was non-existent Health There was no comprehensive epidemiological data on the differences between floor coverings,
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