Wool & Allergies

This document provides information about the wool carpet flooring and allergies.

Breathe Easier with Wool

By their very nature, wool carpets and rugs are good for the indoor environment. That's because wool, unlike synthetic fibers, rapidly absorbs common contaminants in indoor air like formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Not only does wool keep the air free of many harmful pollutants, it will not re-emit them, even when heated. In fact, it has been estimated that wool carpets can continually purify indoor air for up to 30 years!

So when you consider wool carpet's ability to improve and maintain indoor air quality, you can see how it adds value to each of your installations... value that will be reflected in the improved health and comfort of those in that environment.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies are widespread in the developed world and the incidence is increasing for two main reasons:
  • A greatly increased number of synthetic substances produced
  • The improved diagnosis of allergic conditions
However, when it comes to allergies, your nose knows it's not wool carpet causing you to sneeze. Wool's fiber is too long, too coarse to be inhaled. Plus it's a natural, non-allergenic fiber and does not promote the growth of bacteria or dust mites, nor does it give off harmful emissions. In fact, cumulative evidence now suggests strongly that wool carpets actually have a beneficial effect on people's health, provided of course, that they are maintained regularly and properly.

Swedish Study Proves Allergy Claims of Wool

Recent statistical data from Sweden's Central Statistics Bureau, Army, and Flooring Association shows that over the past 20 years while the installation of carpet went down and that of hard floor coverings went up, the number of allergic people increased dramatically over the same period.

Carpets & Dust Mites

Dust mites feed on human skin flakes and live mainly in mattresses and similar warm, dark places. Bed-making sends dust mites airborne causing them to be found in floor dust, mainly in bedrooms. To the dust mite, carpets are a hostile environment: too cold, too dry, too exposed to the light and too regularly cleaned. And since carpets, unlike smooth floor coverings, hold dust in their structure, dust mites will be removed by vacuum or wet cleaning.

Good News for Asthma Sufferers

The most common single cause of asthma is sensitization to house dust, or more precisely to the dust mite, and particularly its waste products. But there's no reason why asthmatics shouldn't enjoy the comfort and aesthetic pleasure of wool carpet.

In fact, not only are carpets inhospitable for dust mites, but wool carpet is especially resistant. Research performed by the German Applied and Experimental Allergy Research Association (GAF) showed that when wool and nylon carpets (one of which was treated with an anti-microbial finish) were compared for dust mites populations, the wool carpeting performed best in resisting dust mite infestation.

Additionally, wool's long, coarse fibers cannot be inhaled and therefore do not affect asthma sufferers. So as long as the air is dry, the ventilation good and the cleaning regular and thorough, asthma sufferers can breathe easy with wool carpet!