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NEW YORK-Host/Racine Industries Inc., manufacturer and supplier of carpet cleaning equipment and materials, has completed research which indicates that allergy sufferers don't have to give up carpet and rugs to control their symptoms.

"All the evidence to date indicates that carpet [and rugs] does not generate significant levels of volatile organic compounds," said Judy Bates, director of research for Host/Racine, based in Racine, Wis., during a press briefing here.

"But the great news for users is that carpet has proven itself to be a very good player in the indoor environment -- a furnishing that, cleaned properly, can help manage the indoor environment in a healthful way."

Research from Host indicates that such allergens as dust, pollen, mold spores and pet dander are either deposited on carpet and rugs by walkers or fall from indoor air onto the face of the fibers. "This floor covering, as a result of its vertical-pile construction, is unique in its ability to act as a filter for air," Bates explained. The carpet or rug pile catches the allergens and keeps them on the floor.

The obvious caveat is that like any filter, carpets and rugs must be cleaned regularly to maintain their effectiveness. Host's message to consumers is that soil, dust and allergens can be removed easily by vacuuming and extraction cleaning.

Host has been researching the role of cleaning in healthful maintenance of carpets and rugs for the past seven years, focusing specifically on dust mites -- the number-one allergen affecting people who are allergic to house dust. (In the U.S. alone, 30 million people are sensitive to such dust, the company said.)

Host conducted one study in 25 occupied homes in Wisconsin to determine the effect of dry extraction with Host carpet-cleaning materials on mites and their remains -- allergens. The study indicated the average number of mites dropped from 932 per gram of dust to 202 per gram one week after cleaning with Host products -- a 78 percent drop. In the control homes, where carpet was not cleaned, mite counts increased 13 percent.

Another study was conducted of eight homes that were carpeted and had a cat in residence for at least one year to determine the presence of cat allergens and the effects of dry extraction cleaning.

According to Bates, an indoor air quality study established that cat allergens -- dander, hair and saliva -- and mold spore counts in carpet decreased 85 percent with a single dry extraction cleaning.

Host also was able to determine that the actual source of many allergens, especially bacteria and mold spores, is overhead, in uncleaned HVAC vents and filters and damp ceiling tiles.

Host recommends aggressive vacuuming on a regular basis using a system that filters the air as it is drawn through the vacuum to remove dry soil that is tracked onto carpet and rugs, and dry extraction cleaning one or more times a year.

Host supplies cleaning materials and programs based on a dry extraction method that avoids wetting the pile. Host Sponges Cleaner is a damp, powder-like material that, the company says, dissolves and absorbs soil so it can be vacuumed up.

Host markets its cleaning products through a national network of Host dealers; carpet, vacuum and hardware retailers, and rental stores and dry cleaners. It recently introduced the Zapper Carpet Cleaning Kit that is said to be ideal for area rugs. Free "Host deep cleans and removes allergens from your carpet" brochures are available by calling Host at 800-558-9439. Its Web site is
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Title Annotation:Racine Industries Inc.
Author:erlihy, Janet
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jul 13, 1998

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