New research proves wool carpets and rugs contribute to better health
Wool carpets and rugs have long been recognised for their great benefits, including resilience, durability and comfort. However recent research has also shown that wool rugs and carpets can significantly improve the indoor air quality of home and office environments.
We typically spend a large percentage of our time indoors, whether it’s at home, in the office, at school, or even in the gym. However due to the large number of toxic products and materials we use every day, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air.
Research from one of New Zealand’s largest Crown Research Institutes, AgResearch, has proven that wool carpets can rapidly absorb common pollutants such as formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and in doing so they improve indoor air quality. This amazing ability is made possible through wool’s diverse range of proteins and lipids that impart a unique set of chemical and physical properties, including the ability to absorb indoor air pollutants.
AgResearch senior scientist Steve McNeil has found that wool neutralises contaminants quicker than synthetic carbon fibres, such as nylon and polyester. In fact, it has been found that wool is able to reduce high levels of formaldehyde to virtually zero in four hours; and low levels to near zero in 30 minutes. It absorbs gases, like nitrogen oxide, appreciably faster, and it especially does so in the first 30 minutes, which suggests wool carpet may provide an effective means for ameliorating sudden increases in levels of indoor contaminants.
He writes that wool to be even more effective in humid climates with absorption increasing with greater humidity. Plus it doesn’t re-emit pollutants with heat and given wool’s longevity can continue to purify the air for up to 30 years.
What does it all mean for you? Since wool floor coverings provide a natural means of removing indoor air pollutants and improving and maintaining indoor air quality, they can contribute to the improved health, comfort and productivity of those living and working indoors.
To add to the list of benefits: wool floor coverings are a renewable resource, have greater resistance to burning and are biodegradable. They have excellent acoustic properties and thermal insulation, maintaining them has a low environmental impact, and they reduce the frequency and severity of falls with a cushioned, non-slip surface. And if you want to look beyond just the floor, wool is increasingly being used in other interior applications, including insulation for walls and ceilings, which provides even more opportunities to improve indoor air quality.