The objective of Testing Carpet for Toxics: Chemicals affecting human health and hindering the circular economy was to provide a snapshot of the toxic substances present in carpets sold by some of the largest carpet manufacturers in the US compared to carpets sold in the European Union (EU).

In addition to US samples, carpet products sold by the main EU manufacturers were tested. These findings were published by European NGOs in October 2018.  These samples are included in our sample list and highlighted with "EU" in the sample name.

A few striking differences came to light when com- paring the EU and US findings. While most US samples had some substances of concern, no in- dicators of toxic chemicals were detected in three of 15 European carpets. One of the EU carpets was produced by Tarkett and one by Interface, both of which are also selling on the US market. While it cannot definitively be said that these carpets do not contain any hazardous substances (due to the limitations of the screening method and scope of this testing), these examples hopefully indicate that carpet can be designed in a better, healthier way. It is also encouraging to see that these carpets contain recycled content, demonstrating the way forward for a toxic-free, circular economy.

Another notable difference seems to be the use of PFASs, usually as stain repellents, in US carpet. PFASs were detected in only 1 EU sample, whereas they were found in 6 of the 12 US samples. While further research is needed to test a wider range of carpets, these results seem to suggest that companies have more robust screening systems for the carpets they sell on the EU market.

Published on December 12, 2018

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