CPSC Studying Carpet-Related Health Problems

August 24, 1989
Release Number: 89083

Installation of new carpet occasionally results in consumer complaints about adverse health effects, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported today. The Commission, which has already asked allergists to refer carpet-related consumer complaints to the agency, has received several reports of serious incidents. Investigations of these allegations will verify which of the complaints are associated with chemicals in the carpet and assist the agency in determining if future standards are necessary.

- Clearwater, Florida: A 48-year-old woman reported developing a raspy throat, burning eyes, vomiting, and nausea one week after visiting her daughter who had just had a new wall-to-wall carpet installed. Her young granddaughter also developed clogged nasal passages and an ear infection.

- Parkersburg, West Virginia: A 62-year-old woman reported becoming ill one week after installation of carpet in her home. Her symptoms included burning eyes and nose, blisters on the inside of her throat, and constant sinus problems. Those who installed the carpet also complained of headaches.

- Beaver, Pennsylvania: A 32-year-old woman reported developing a body rash, low fever, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, and other symptoms 10 days after a wall-to-wall stain resistant treated carpet was installed in her home and office. Her 32-year-old husband developed slight headaches. For both, the symptoms disappeared after they left their home for several weeks.

Consumer Product Safety Commission Acting Chairman Anne Graham said, "The Commission staff will evaluate these carpet-related complaints and will contact some of the consumers for additional information. The carpet study is part of the Commission's larger project on indoor air pollution."

Consumers who believe they may have suffered adverse health effects after the installation of new carpet and who want to share their experiences with the Consumer Product Safety Commission may call the toll-free CPSC Hotline at 1-800-638-2772, or write: Carpet Complaints, Room 529, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207.