Photo: Eco-friendly carpet options

Choose rugs made from natural fibres like wool. (Credit: origami_potato via Flickr)

Sourcing a "green" product for a small purchase like a rug might not seem like a big deal, but we spend about 90 per cent of our time indoors.

The materials and chemical treatments that go into making many consumer products affect our indoor air quality. When it comes to floor coverings, kids are especially at risk because that's where they spend a lot of time.

Choose carpets or rugs made from natural fibres like wool. Avoid chemical treatments. Carpets, for example, are sometimes treated with formaldehyde, something Health Canada suggests you reduce or eliminate from home use as much as possible. You probably don't realize that formaldehyde is also found in air fresheners, nail polish, bed sheets, kitchen cabinets, furniture — you get the idea. Because it emits fumes, most of the cancer research on formaldehyde focuses on risks from inhalation.

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Avoid Stainmaster®. It's a perfluorochemical or PFC, widely-used as a water, grease, and stain repellent in carpets and clothes. PFCs pollute our water, are persistent in the environment, and can remain in the human body for years.

You can also look for a Greenguard certified rug. The Greenguard Environmental Institute certifies products and materials that have low chemical emissions. There are fifteen categories to choose from, such as building materials, furniture, and paint. Design a healthy space; check out their Product Guide to source everything from countertops to adhesives.

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