Are Polypropylene Rugs Toxic?


In this article, we will answer the question of whether polypropylene rugs are toxic. They are made from derivatives of petroleum and are chemically treated with various compounds that may have a negative effect on human health and the environment.

Polypropylene is a type of plastic that has been around for many years, yet it's only in recent decades that people have become aware of its toxicity as well as its potential to pollute our water sources and soil.


What is Polypropylene?


Propylene is made from a polymer of the monomer propylene. Polypropylene is quite common in packaging, labels, textiles and reusable containers. This compound is made from derivatives of propylene and is resistant to damage.

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic material that can be stretched up to four times its original length before it will break. It also has good resistance to chemicals and humidity.

polypropylene rugs toxic


What Are Polypropylene Rugs Like?


Polypropylene rugs have some very appealing qualities, including:

  • Affordability, they're cheaper than other synthetic and natural rugs
  • A polypropylene rug is resistant to stains so it's a good choice for families with small children
  • They're colorfast, which means that the color will not fade away easily
  • Polypropylene rugs are easy to clean and do not get damaged easily even when you use harsh cleaning products.
  • It is a great choice for outdoors, especially pool areas, because they can withstand mildew and resist water damage. For the same reasons, these rugs are perfect for bathrooms. However, they should be kept in shaded areas, as they're not resistant to sunlight.
  • It also has low density, so it's very lightweight, which makes it easy to maneouver
  • Its low static electricity makes it a good choice for office equipment, carpets and car insides.

On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks to polypropylene that should be noted:

  • Lack of softness when compared to wool or cotton rugs. The synthetic fibers are much stiffer than natural fibers and they can be harsh on your skin or your baby's knees when they're crawling on them.
  • They're treated with antibacterial and anti-static substances containing toxic chemicals that can affect human health and the environment.
  • These rugs are toxic, they off-gas and release VOCs into the air and they´re made of synthetic materials. This makes them especially inappropriate for nurseries and kids' bedrooms, but they can affect air quality in your whole house whenever you place them, so it's a good reason to consider buying an all-natural non toxic rug instead.
  • Not recommended for high traffic areas as the fibers are not as resistant as those in natural rugs, such as wool.
  • Their fibers become weaker when they´re exposed to direct sunlight, so they should be used only in shaded areas. Otherwise, they become brittle pretty fast and they start falling apart.
  • Not appropriate for kitchens and dining rooms as some oil-based stains may be difficult to remove.
  • They can easily get damaged by heat and friction, so even sliding furniture on top of them can cause permanent damage.

Read More: Best Non Toxic Products for Your Home


What Are the Toxins Found in Polypropylene Rugs?

  • Synthetic rubber contains phthalates, which can disrupt the endocrine function. Additionally, they have been linked to reproductive issues in both men and women.
  • The dying process uses toxic dyes can be harmful to your health. This is because these are often recorded to cause irritation and allergic symptoms in some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin. AZO dyes, often used in orange and red pigments, have even linked them to cancer in lab rats.
  • There are many kinds of adhesives that may be used in polypropylene rugs. As these products age, the adhesive can break down and release harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde into the air.
  • Although pesticides and fungicides kill dangerous pests, they can also be toxic to humans. For example, many of them are potentially carcinogenic and may cause serious health problems such as asthma, headaches, and nausea.
  • Some of the most common and harmful chemicals found in home textiles are flame retardants. Typically made from brominated compounds, they are often used in rugs and carpets to prevent fire outbreaks. However, these chemicals have been proven to be harmful to both the environment and humans.
  • Styrene is another compound found in polypropylene rugs that is potentially carcinogenic. This is why it's crucial to air out new synthetic rugs before setting them up and leaving the doors and windows open for at least 48 hours until the initial off-gassing process stops.
  • Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, found in water-repellent and stain-resistant polypropylene rugs can disrupt the endocrine activity and lower your immunity to diseases.

Read More: Best Organic Cleaning Products for Your Home


What Is the Impact of Polypropylene Rugs on the Environment?


Although polypropylene carpets or rugs only last about 2-5 years before being replaced with new ones, their life span continues once they enter a landfill site because the material can survive hundreds of years without biodegrading

During the decomposition process, a polypropylene rug will release toxic chemicals into the soil and water. The environmental impacts from these chemicals can range in severity, depending on the location of disposal.

This makes it one of the more serious environmental problems since most people would never think twice about what happens after throwing out old carpeting or furniture containing polypropylene plastic fibers.

Another thing to consider is that when a synthetic rug is washed in a washing machine, its particles will be released into the water system and eventually end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans, increasing microplastic pollution

The impact of polypropylene rugs on the environment is something that should be taken into consideration before making your final decision about what type of floor covering you want in your home or office.

polypropylene rugs toxic


Best Propylene Rug Alternatives


The best alternatives to polypropylene rugs are rugs made of natural materials, such as wool, sisal or jute. Each of these materials has got different qualities that make them appropriate for different types of uses. However, they're all biodegradable, making them a much more eco-friendly choice than synthetic rugs. 

Also, their fibers are much more resistant and durable than propylene rugs. Another advantage of these natural rugs is that they won't release any toxic chemicals so they're a safer and healthier choice for you and your family. So although they are much more expensive than synthetic rugs, they're an investement worth every cent.


Jute Rugs


Jute is a soft fabric that’s perfect for lower traffic areas of the home. It resembles wool in its softness and can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to natural fibers like cotton, linen, or silk. One downside to it though? The material may shed after being washed so you might want to vacuum frequently if this happens! Check out our list below on some really nice jute rugs:


Wool Rugs


Wool is the most common material used for rugs. It’s biodegradable, hypoallergenic and naturally flame-resistant so there's no need to use harmful chemical treatments on it! Wool is also durable - if you take care of your wool rug properly, wool will last a long time without looking worn out.

But like anything else that has strong qualities, they come with unfortunate drawbacks: although well water repellent by nature, wool becomes prone to mildew when constantly exposed to humidity so only use it in dry areas, such as your living room or bedroom.


Sisal Rugs


Sisal is a natural material that's durable and easy to maintain. It doesn't need any chemicals, but watch out for where you put it in the house because, with time, it can get slippery, so avoid putting it on the stairs or in your kids' room.

Sisal also absorbs things so tough stains might be tricky to remove. For this reason, don't use it in your kitchen, dining room or bathroom. There are plenty of beautiful non-toxic sisal rugs around made by people who care about what they do:

Conclusion


Synthetic rugs are a popular choice for many homeowners and businesses because they’re affordable, easy to clean, and can be used in both residential and commercial spaces. However, synthetic rugs have some negative aspects that should definitely be taken into consideration before making your final decision on the type of floor covering you want for your home or office.

One of the most concerning is the presence of dangerous chemicals that could negatively impact your health as well as Mother Earth's. If you're concerned about potential risks associated with these types of carpets then we recommend buying a natural non toxic rug made of wool, jute or sisal. 

We'd love to hear about your experiences with polypropylene as well as natural rugs. What are the main differences you noticed? What are your favorite rug brands? Share your story in the comments below. Also, if you've got any questions about non toxic rugs, please use the comment section below. 


Read More: What’s the Best Non Toxic Paint?

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