According to the Environmental Protection Agency, like many other household products and furnishings, new carpet can be a source of chemical emissions. Carpet emits volatile organic compounds, as do products that accompany carpet installation such as adhesives and padding, and some people report symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches; skin irritations; shortness of breath or cough; and fatigue, which they may associate with new carpet installation. Carpet can also act as a "sink" for chemical and biological pollutants including pesticides, dust mites, and fungi.

Therefore, when purchasing carpet you should ask your retailer for information on selecting lower emitting carpet, cushion and adhesives. Additionally, before new carpet is installed, you can ask your retailer to unroll and air out the carpet in a clean, well-ventilated area.

You also should consider leaving the premises during and immediately after carpet installation or, optimally, schedule the installation when the space is unoccupied. Opening doors and windows to increase the amount of fresh air indoors will reduce exposure to most chemicals released from newly installed carpet, and during and after installation in a home, you can use window fans and room air conditioners to exhaust fumes to the outdoors. Ventilation systems should be in proper working order, and should be operated during installation, and for 48 to 72 hours after the new carpet is installed.

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