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Wool Carpets And Indoor Air Pollution

The latest research indicates that woollen carpets help cut air pollution in a home by absorbing harmful chemicals from cleaning fragrances, paint, and furniture. Scientists state that these volatile organic compounds linked to cancer and breathing problems, are found in our homes and wool carpets can absorb them. As a result, they highly recommend using wool carpets for workplaces. From all wool tested, they have found that Blackface sheep breed was found to be the most absorbent wool followed by Swaledale.


Scientists have subjected sheep wool to VOCs including formaldehyde, which is associated with cancer and emitted by MDF and chipboard furniture.


They also saw what impact wool had on limonene, which in cleaning products is the lemony smell, and toluene discovered in paint thinners.


These are thought to be a cause of ‘ sick building syndrome, ‘ where workers complain that they feel ill.


Bangor University’s team said wool absorbed all the chemicals that became linked to the fibre structure. They also advised that installing wool carpets, curtains and soft furnishings can in fact improve the air quality inside homes and offices. 


They added that wool – a natural and viable material – is capable of absorbing from the indoor setting a variety of possibly damaging chemicals. This has significant factors in preventing or reducing ‘ sick building syndrome ‘ at a moment when this problem is becoming increasingly common.


The use of wool in the design of buildings can play a significant part not only in imparting thermal efficiency but also in improving indoor air quality.


The head of materials research at Bangor University, Graham Ormondroyd, who co-authored the study released in Green Materials, said: ‘ The more wool you have, the more it can absorb. It is worth considering when sick building syndrome accounts for £ 9 billion lost working days.