Carpets and Health
The health aspect not only plays an important role in rooms where patients are recovering, like hospitals, care homes and doctors’ surgeries. Working and living areas also ought to be designed and built more and more often to comply with health criteria, according to requests by developers and operators. The great importance attached to floors and in particular to carpets is obvious, as, day in, day out, everyone is in contact with this element of a room directly and indirectly.
From the point of view of hygiene, carpets give no cause for concern at all. Studies by doctors and specialists in hygiene have demonstrated that. Of course, in this case it all depends on the right care and cleaning, as with any other type of flooring.
Also, pollution caused by fine dust is significantly less in carpeted rooms than in those with hard flooring. Since in contrast to hard flooring, dust is not stirred up with carpets, but bound in the carpet until it is next cleaned. This is demonstrated in the study published by the German Allergy and Asthma Association in 2005.
Not a Habitat for House Dust Mites
Allergy to house dust mites is a very common allergy. It is hypersensitivity to the droppings of dust mites, which get into the air we breathe when fabrics are shaken (e.g. bedding) or if there is a draught in the room. So it is not the mites themselves that trigger the allergy but the droppings they produce. House dust mites feed predominantly on flakes of human and animal skin and on moulds. Carpets, contrary to widespread opinion, are not a habitat for dust mites, as they do not provide the warm and humid climate and mites are not able to develop or survive on them.
Dust mites need an ambient temperature of 20–30 °C and 65–80 per cent relative humidity. These conditions are chiefly found in textile materials like mattresses, cushions, bedding and in clothing, – so anywhere it is warm and moist. Keeping pets encourages breeding of house dust mites, because they provide the mites with additional food and moisture.
A homely textile ambience for demanding environments
With their CARE CONCEPT, ANKER has developed a collection of four loop carpets for the health market. The collection boasts nature-like colour combinations and an extra-homely feel. In addition to the comfort, it also offers innovative functionality: the carpets in the collections are impervious to liquids when treated with EVA Fluid Stop. This means that no liquids can penetrate into the carpet backing or the screed underneath and cause odours. We also combined this innovation with the advantages of solution-dyed fibre material. These are the easy-clean features that make CARE CONCEPT carpets virtually predestined for senior residences, nursing homes, rehab clinics and doctors’ surgeries.
Spaces in which the well-being and health of the occupants are the primary concern, demand particular attention by those who design and furnish them. CARE CONCEPT has been developed with this in mind. A collection that is committed to the idea of making comfort possible in demanding living spaces – in residences for senior citizens, care homes for the elderly or even in doctors’ surgeries, rehab centres and clinics. Floor design is thus transformed from purely functional to homely plus functional. A decisive, tangible difference.
The technology within and beneath
The CARE CONCEPT backing is manufactured using the unique ANKER sandwich technology. Here the tuft backing is durably bound with the EVA Fluid Stop backing and a textile fleece cover during an elaborate process. The result is a product that has a completely textile feel but is also impermeable to liquids. Liquids are therefore unable to penetrate into either the carpet backing or the underlay.
This fibre has the inside track
The products within the CARE CONCEPT collection are manufactured exclusively from solution-dyed fibre material, and this fibre literally has the inside track – especially in terms of colour. With solution-dyed fibre, the pigment is introduced into the fibre as early as the production stage rather than simply being added to the exterior, as is conventionally in dyeing. This brings with it solid benefits: exceptionally easy to clean, even with chlorinated cleaning agents, unproblematic use of disinfectants, resistant to UV radiation and age-related yellowing, hides dirt effectively due to trilobal fibre cross section, same colour from row to row, no difference in colour at crossover points, environmental friendly dyeing thanks to significant reduction in use of fresh water and energy as well as less waste water and fewer CO2 emissions.
A warm living environment that is also functional
The textile surface of the CARE CONCEPT carpets creates a pleasant, secure room atmosphere. In addition, the carpet minimises noise with its sound-absorbing effect and makes for significantly better room acoustics. CARE CONCEPT carpets facilitate walking that is gentle on the joints and are especially slip-resistant, even in wet conditions. The soft surface gives the foot purchase and, in the event of a fall, reduces the risk of injury. The CARE CONCEPT collection only offers loop pile carpets. This construction guarantees practically no side drifting from use of wheelchairs, walking frames or even beds.
Better No Dust Rather than Fine Dust
In contrast to hard flooring, dust is not stirred up with carpets but bound in the carpet until it is next cleaned, as demonstrated in the study published by the German Institute for Allergies and Asthma in 2005. This means pollution caused by fine dust is significantly less in rooms with carpet than in those with smooth floors.
Inhaled dust is harmful to health. It irritates the respiratory tract as a result of the mechanical reaction. Not infrequently other substances cling to the dust particles that are breathed in – for instance allergens, which then get into the lungs and trigger reactions accordingly. Allergy patients are particularly affected by it and their quality of life suffers. In order to rule out damage to health, more than 50 µg fine dust per cu.m. are permitted at most on 35 days a year in the air outside.
In the view of both the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB) and the Society for Environmental and Indoor Environmental Analysis (GUI), it is not only the air outdoors that is the main problem but indoor pollution in particular. After all we spend on average 90% of our life indoors.
For this reason, surveys were carried out accordingly in over one hundred randomly selected households in North Rhine-Westphalia. The basis for the surveys was the comparison between smooth floors and carpets (DAAB 2005).
These surveys established that pollution caused by dust in interior rooms with smooth floors was on average 62.9 µg per cu.m. This result is alarming since the guide value for the maximum concentration of airborne dust is – as mentioned above – 50 µg per cu.m. over 35 days per year. Thus the average value obtained in this case exceeds the maximum figure by 12.9 µg per cu.m. The average figure in rooms with carpets was 30.4 µg per cu.m. This figure is not only well below the accepted maximum level of pollution but is also more than half that in rooms fitted with smooth floors.
The reasons for this are obvious: with every movement on parquet and PVC, linoleum, stones, tiles and marble, dust is stirred up behind a person. Carpets however bind the dust until it is released next time the carpet is vacuumed. The dust-binding properties are so great in this case that an air flow speed up to 15 times higher is required to release the dust particles from carpets into the air we breathe than with smooth floors.
Sources: Consumers direct – Dust alert, Special edition from Verbraucher Initiative e.V., 2005
DAAB Study “Pollution from fine dust in interior rooms”, 2005
Our Mission - Zero Emissions
Our products are all examined by an impartial European research institute for harmful chemicals and emissions. As a member of GUT we have undertaken to do this. It goes without saying that we observe the environmental standards prescribed by GUT for production. Our production facilities are always accessible for regular inspections. The ongoing further development of our production processes takes environmental aspects into consideration above all – to prevent pollution of the air and water, and also to comply with the recycling guidelines from GUT.
Definitely not good for slipping
Compared with other types of flooring, carpets are among those offering the greatest protection against slipping. This was the conclusion of a comprehensive study, “Safety of textile flooring for walking stability”, undertaken by the ÖTI (Institute for Ecology, Technology and Innovation) in Vienna. Taking this study as a basis, all carpets generally more than meet the standard of technical class DS (sliding friction coefficient > 0.30 in accordance with EN 13893), as required for CE certification according to EN 14041.
Compared with other flooring, carpets not only register the lowest number of falls; the risk of fractures is also the lowest with carpets. The force of impact from a fall depends on the thickness and structure of the carpet. Thick carpets decrease the impact from a fall by at least 7% and therefore lead to injuries less frequently.
(Source: Gardner et al., 1997, Med. Eng. & Physics, 20, 57–65)
Step by Step - A Relief
A superior carpet demonstrates very high resilience underfoot and relieves our bodies’ natural cushioning systems, since the extremely high resilience underfoot makes it easier for muscles and joints. The denser and more comfortable a carpet is, the greater this effect is. The soft, springy surface of a textile floor covering adjusts to every movement of the foot and thus ensures even distribution of body weight, making it easier on joints and muscles.
General Approval from the Inspector of Works
The general approval from the inspector of works at DIBT (German Civil Engineering Institute) controls the fitness for purpose of construction products as part of the standardised norm DIN EN 14041:2006-04 for use in habitable rooms. This concerns, among others, all carpets and carpet tiles delivered to Germany.
When approval is granted, emissions have been tested in accordance with the AgBB assessment scheme (Committee for Health-related Evaluation of Building Products), have passed accordingly and the product is approved for use in habitable rooms.
Proof is demonstrated by the actual approval and the appropriate certificate of conformity. Products may not be distributed and processed in Germany without this proof.
To this end, all carpets and carpet tiles must be marked with the Ü sign for each shipment.