Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Have a healthy installation

March 5, 2012

MUKILTEO, WA — The first official recorded incident of "sick building syndrome" occurred at the headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1988, according to a press release.

The occurrence happened shortly after new carpeting was installed in the facility, and health experts believed that the newly installed carpeting was probably releasing high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), causing illness among the agency''s staff, the release stated.

Although there have been many advances, carpet installation can still pose a risk to human health more than 20 years after that incident, the release noted.

According to the release, there are some steps facilities managers can take to reduce or eliminate any health-related problems associated with installing new carpeting, including:

• Select carpeting certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute''s (CRI) Green Label and Green Label Plus programs; these carpets have very low VOC emissions
• Make sure the installation technician carefully follows CRI carpet installation standards and guidelines
• Try to schedule the installation on the weekend if possible to allow the carpet to release any gasses it may be holding when no one is in the building.

"Be sure to establish regularly scheduled cleanings using hot water extractors as well," said Mark Baxter, an engineer with U.S. Products.

"Carpets stay both cleaner and healthier when they are cleaned two or more times per year," Baxter added.

For more tips, click here.

Click here to read the complete release.