Is school carpet a health concern?

Is school carpet a health concern?
April 25 07:19 2018 Print This Article

Carpet squares are being installed throughout several Charleston County schools this summer. The district maintains there are several good reasons for installing carpet. Carpet acts like a sponge, puling allergens out of the air, so the air quality is better in the building. It traps airborne dust particles in the spaces between the tufts, where a good-quality vacuum can remove them. Carpet is also cheaper to maintain than tile. Tiles need to be vacuumed or swept and then mopped daily. Finally, chemical use will be reduced in schools, as floor strippers will not need to be used on carpet.

Lowcountry Source has seen Facebook posts from teachers who are concerned about the installation of carpet. They note that carpet costs more than tile. Even with proper care, most carpeting will only last for only about 10 years. High-traffic areas may wear out much sooner. Tile lasts years longer. The district will need to shampoo the carpets in the summer. Teachers mentioned that without industrial blowers drying the carpet and the air conditioning being turned off during the summer, the carpet is covered in mold and mildew when the teachers return. Teachers are concerned that carpet will contribute to allergies, asthma and other health problems.

Teachers have complained that the cleaning service used by CCSD to clean the schools is not doing a good job. They are concerned that if the carpets are not maintained, they will be a breeding ground for allergens. Teachers also feel they were not consulted in this decision and are concerned about negative health consequences to them and their students.