Fitted carpets should be excluded from houses where children suffer from asthma, and should not be used at all in schools, research carried out for the Healthy Flooring Network shows. Carpets harbour dust mite allergen, the greatest trigger of childhood asthma.
Dr Jill Warner, senior lecturer in allergy and immunology at the University of Southampton, who carried out the research, told the AJ: 'I wasn't aware how much of a problem carpets were until we did this work.'
Carpets contain the largest reservoir of mite allergens in a typical house, and even rigorous vacuuming cannot remove the mites. Fitted carpets also harbour pet allergens, the second most important trigger. Dr Warner is concerned that carpets should not be used in schools as children may import pet allergens from home that will stay in the carpets and trigger asthma in susceptible classmates.
One in five UK children suffer from asthma, one of the worst records in the world, and 98 per cent of UK households have fitted carpets, compared with 16 per cent in France and just 2 per cent in Italy.