Saturday, September 6, 2008

We did my son a favor

and am deeply regretting it!
As a surprise to him, we bought new wall to wall carpeting for his room. The surprise ended up being to us.
After profound and grateful thanks, we all turned in for the night. The next day, I didn't see my son until late in the day. He was suffering from a horrible headache. Thinking that the headache was caused by low blood sugar, I cooked him an egg and sausage for a big boost of protein. Instead of making him feel better, he felt sick to his stomach. Finally, after lounging on my couch, he felt a little better, and went for a walk around the neighborhood. After the walk, he decided to lay down on his bed to rest.
The next day, he woke up even later. He'd been trying to do some school work the night before, but found that he had a slight headache and couldn't concentrate. He came upstairs, made a pot of coffee, watched some late night TV and feeling better, went back to his room to do schoolwork. After a few hours, the headache returned, so he called it a night and went to bed. This second day since installing the carpet, was his second day of waking up with a headache. I offered to make him breakfast but refused because his stomach felt nauseous.
He hung around upstairs for a few hours and then felt well enough to eat some leftovers and bike to the library. When he returned home he ate a good dinner, and goaded by me, went to his room to do his by now, long neglected homework.
The next day, my son had the flu. He sneezed a lot. His nose was runny and then stuffy. His throat ached. I sent him back to bed with the promise of chicken broth and my vigilant "My kid's sick" mommy care. It was when I went into his room, that I realized what was happening.
His room had an awful, chemically smell. We opened the windows and set two fans to blow air over the carpet and out the window. That night, we closed the windows. When he was ready to retire for the night, his room once again had an overpowering chemically smell. That night, and every night since, my son has slept on the couch.
We began a morning routine of opening the windows in his room and turning on both fans - one to blow the room air out of the house, and another to blow fresh air into the room.
I began to investigate on the Internet and came up with this information:

1. If a carpet is made from artificial fibers, air the carpet for a few days before installing.

2. Have all windows open and fans blowing after the installation. Do this until the chemical smell is gone. Apparently anywhere from 2 days to a few weeks.

3. To make the chemical off - gas more quickly, close all the ventilation and turn the room's temperature up to about 80 degrees for two days. Then turn off the heat and ventilate with open windows and fans. Nobody and no living thing should be in that room for any of that time.

4. Get an ion air purifier.

5. Get a HEPA filter.

6. Get at least 18 green plants.

It has been almost a week now since the carpet was installed, and my son is still sleeping in my livingroom. The fumes in his room are very noticeable. It looks like our house guests next week will not be bunking with my son, which puts a knot in my plans.
So what have I learned? Next time we buy carpet, let the carpet air out at least a week before installing. Or better yet, just buy a natural fiber rug.


Lily said...

How is he doing now, Mary?

Mary Bennett said...

The room is much better, but he still leaves the window open and a fan blowing for the majority of the day. And we're on the second container of activated carbon.

Wish we could have gotten the wool rug from the Victorian Trader magazine you have me hooked on!! :)


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