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Indoor air quality often substandard - Special carpet for cleaner air

17 May 2010

Carpet manufacturer Desso has introduced a new type of carpet specially developed to improve the air quality inside buildings. The indoor air quality is often far from ideal, mostly because of the high concentrations of fine dust and particulate matter. This can lead to health problems. The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science already announced an emergency measure in January to improve the indoor air quality at schools.

The new type of carpet, called AirMaster®, is eight times more effective in trapping particulate matter than hard floors and four times more effective than a standard carpet. This was the conclusion of a study conducted by the independent German testing institute GUI*. AirMaster® guarantees a significant improvement of the indoor climate and reduces the risk of health-related problems.

Independent testing
AirMaster® was developed over the past year and has undergone extensive testing by the independent German testing institute GUI. The study showed that the patented technology of AirMaster® is eight times more effective in trapping particulate matter than hard floors and four times more effective than a standard carpet. This makes Desso the world’s only manufacturer to offer a product certified with the GUI’s golden logo, which means that the carpet is 80% more effective than hard floors when it comes to trapping particulate matter.

“The carpet significantly reduces the amount of dust and particulate matter that float around indoors. The World Health Organization** has warned that it is particularly hazardous to inhale particulate matter,” according to Desso Chief Commercial Officer Alexander Collot d’Escury. “Miniscule dust particles end up in the lungs, the smallest particles even in the blood stream, and this could have serious consequences for human health.” It has also emerged from a study published by the University of Utrecht*** that particulate matter can cause asthma in children.

Emergency measure
A healthy indoor climate is currently high on the political agenda, as is evident from the announcement of an emergency measure in January by State Secretary Dijksma (Education, Culture and Science) to improve the indoor air quality at schools. This came in response to a study by the Municipal Health Service (GGD) which showed that the indoor climate at schools is far below standard.

Active policy against poor air quality
A healthy air quality inside buildings is essential, as most people spend most of the day indoors. In fact, people with a full-time office job spend 1,880 hours a year on average inside their office. The German asthma foundation DAAB has for some time been pointing out that the harmful effects of particulate matter are greatly reduced if carpeting is chosen as indoor floor covering instead of hard floor covering. This spring the Dutch asthma foundation launched the campaign “Polluted air ruins the lungs” to encourage municipalities to pursue a more active policy against poor air quality, which is partly due to high concentrations of particulate matter. According to the asthma foundation, the campaign was prompted in part by the fact that the Netherlands has for some time now been violating the European standards for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in particular.

 

* GUI is an independent German testing institute that specialises in analysing indoor and outdoor air quality and conducting studies at the request of parties such as the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB). GUI carried out a study to compare AirMaster® with a standard PVC hard floor and a standard structured loop-pile carpet. The test used particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10μm (PM10 and smaller).
** Air quality guidelines – global update 2005, World Health Organization.
*** Study, conducted by the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) of the University of Utrecht and investigating the link between traffic-related air pollution and the development of asthma, allergies and the associated symptoms in children up to the age of 8.

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