Are Carpet Cleaning Products Safe For The Environment?

According to a study that appeared in the Journal Environmental Science & Technology, a chemical that used to found in pesticides and more recently in carpet cleaning products was believed to be ingested by wildlife in North America. Dolfins, fishes and birds have been tested positive for perflourophosphinic acids, a common chemical used for a variety of purposes from stain resistant carpet sprays to non-stick cooking surfaces.

Several pesticide formulations in North America and Europe contained perflourophosphinic acids but beginning 2006, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has restricted the use of such chemicals in pesticides because of identified human and environmental risks. The United States restricts the use of these chemicals in carpet cleaning and in the manufacture of pesticides but unfortunately, Canada permits them.

Environmental scientists believe that perfluorophosphinic acids are being used in for commercial products including those used for rug cleaning. The Canadian government conducted a small scale experiment on 102 residential dust samples in Vancouver from 2007 to 2008. 83% of the household dust samples contained perflourophosphinic acids.

A survey of aquatic organisms was also funded by the Canadian government. Blood samples were taken from one type of fish, one type of bird and one type of mammal across North America. Different types of species occupied separate and distinct environmental niches. Concentrations of perflourophosphinic acids were detected on all the species.

The chemical is known to linger in the environment because sunlight, water and microbes are unable to break them down in small harmless chemical components. The mechanisms of the environment being able to clean itself do not apply to this complex chemical. Even human blood samples from North America were detected to contain the chemical; however, there are no published studies on its effects on humans or on other organisms.

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