When a new carpet is installed, there’s a very good chance it will release chemicals from its vinyl backing and the glue used to hold the carpet to the floor. This release of chemicals is known as off-gassing. Some of these chemicals have been associated with headaches, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath (dyspnea), and asthma-like reactions.
Small kids may have particular difficulty, as they spend their time closer to the carpet. Kids who suffer from asthma and allergies may have a particularly rough time depending on their sensitivity.
These chemicals can be released for as long as five years after a new carpet is installed, but the majority of the off-gassing takes place in the first few months. The EPA recommends heavy ventilation for at least three days after installation. That means keeping fans moving and windows open. A HEPA air filter is a good choice, too. If possible, you may just want to leave the home for a few days.
If you or your family are especially sensitive to these chemicals, carpeting may not be the best choice. Consider bare floors with rugs instead, or selecting a carpet with natural fibers.