The number of homes with carpet cleaning is rising, with consumers seeking out cleaner options, but experts are warning against unnecessary use of the cleaning process.
Read More “It is a real risk to the environment, there are more toxins in carpet than anywhere else and you are increasing the amount of contaminants you are inhaling,” says Prof. S. Ramachandran, director of the Centre for Environmental Health Sciences, Delhi University.
“It does not help you in terms of air quality.
There is no clear answer,” he adds.”
Carpet cleaning is very important, but I am not sure about the environmental benefits.
There is no clear answer,” he adds.
A new study released by the Environmental Research Board (ERC) suggests that there is a link between pollution in a carpet’s production, and the number of bacteria that grow in the carpet.
The research, which was carried out in collaboration with the University of Oxford, found that the carpet’s carpet fibers are less likely to contain the bacterium E.coli, which causes the skin condition.
“It is not just the bacteria, there is also the dust in the air.
This has a huge impact on the environment.
And there are many different factors which can impact on these parameters,” said Prof. Ramakrishnan.
While the ERC researchers suggested that carpet cleaning could help curb pollution, the Indian government has yet to approve the use of carpet cleaners.
The government has been lobbying for a ban on carpet cleaning, arguing that it is an unnecessary and dangerous practice.
“A ban on any kind of carpet cleaning or any kind and all forms of carpet disposal will result in increased pollution,” says an official statement issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in July 2016.
“A ban in the same way as any other form of cleaning will also result in more pollution.”
The ERC team’s findings were based on the study of carpet samples from 15 cities across the country.
“They found that while carpet cleaning had no effect on bacteria levels, there was an effect on the amount and the types of bacteria found in carpet fibers,” says Ramachandan.
“The amount of bacteria is very different from one city to another.
So it was difficult to tell if the contamination was caused by carpet cleaning alone or by the soil conditions, or by other environmental factors,” he added.
However, the ECR researchers found that contamination from other sources was also linked to the carpet cleaning.
“The samples from Delhi showed high levels of microorganisms, which suggests that this contamination was the result of soil contamination,” says Professor Ramachanan.
“In terms of the environmental impact of the pollution, it is much lower than the level of contamination in the surrounding environment.”
The researchers found a link in Delhi between the level and soil-level contamination.
“We also found an increase in the number and types of bacterial species found in the soil, and it is important to note that soil contamination is a serious problem in Delhi,” says Dr. M.C. Shah, co-author of the study.
“There are different sources of contamination, soil, ground and air, but the soil is the main cause of contamination.
There are so many factors involved that can cause contamination,” he told Quartz.
“If we are looking at the contamination of the carpet in Delhi, then the soil level could be one of the main factors.”
But in a separate study, the same team found that soil was not the only source of contamination and that dust was a more likely cause of the soil-borne bacteria.
“While the amount in dust is not significantly different from that in soil, the dust is present in higher concentrations,” says Shah.
“So, the amount present in dust in Delhi could be a major contributing factor.”
According to the EERC researchers, carpet cleaning and other soil-based cleaning methods are a cost-effective solution.
“As we have shown, cleaning the carpet of soil will not reduce the amount or the types [of bacteria] present in the fabric,” says the study, which used data from over 50,000 carpet samples taken from 10 cities in Delhi.
“This is because soil-related bacterial species are very different than those found in soil and therefore cannot be directly linked to carpet cleaning,” says ERC.
“However, it would be useful to find out which soil-associated bacterial species occur in carpet carpet.”