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Is Polypropylene Rug Safe for Babies? – The Facts & Experts Recommendations

Thinking about buying Polypropylene Rug for your home?

You may already know that rugs are made of different materials-some are natural, while some are synthetic. Polypropylene rugs are the most common type of synthetic rugs you see on the market.

Unfortunately, synthetic rugs can bring unwanted toxins into your home.

So, when it comes to choosing a rug for your home, safety is always a top priority- especially if you have babies and pet in your home. Many parents are sceptical about whether polypropylene rugs are safe for babies.

Among the commercial plastics on the market today, Polypropylene (PP) is generally considered safe for humans. It’s less flammable in fabrics than wool. Most importantly, it’s not known to cause cancer in humans.

But, is POLYPROPYLENE RUG safe for babies?

If synthetic materials such as polypropylene or even natural materials are not carefully sourced, it can be laden with harmful chemicals. So, polypropylene rugs are safe for babies as long as it is treated properly. Hence, it’s important to check its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) before bringing one into your home. However, it’s wise to avoid synthetic rug when it comes to babies.

I’ll explain this topic in details below.

So, continue reading!

What is Polypropylene?

Polypropylene (PP), also called Olefin, is a polymer created from monomer propylene. It is a complex plastic that is derived from petroleum. It is a BPA-free plastic and FDA-approved for food contact. It has a high heat tolerance.

Giulio Natta and Karl Ziegler (both of them are noble prize winners) first manufactures polypropylene fiber in 1957.

What’s Polypropylene Used For?

Polypropylene is widely used for packaging materials. It is used to make everything from containers (marked with a 5 in the tri-angle symbol)) to rugs.

Its resin ID code is 5.

You’ll find polypropylene containers to hold butter products, cream cheese, yogurt and so on. It is also used for packaging food that can be heated in a microwave.

Some implants and surgical accessories are also made of polypropylene.
Polypropylene fibers are used to weave indoor and outdoor area rugs.

Is Polypropylene Safe?

Generally polypropylene is considered to be one of the safer plastics. It is a safer alternative to some other types of plastics such as Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), High-density polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polystyrene (PS) etc.

There are no known cancer-causing effects associated with polypropylene. The FDA has approved its use as a food container material.

What Is Polypropylene Rug?

Polypropylene rugs are made of Polypropylene fibers.

As mentioned above, these materials are produced from petroleum in the laboratory and then the fibers are distributed to factories to be are weaved by appropriate machines.

It is chemically-treated with various compounds to make it stain-resistant, anti-static and antibacterial.

The polypropylene fibers are used for a variety of rugs, i.e. from flat-woven kitchen rugs to soft shaggy.

Why Is Polypropylene a Popular Choice for Rugs?

  • Highly resistant to water-based stain that make them great for families with pet.
  • Resistant to rug moths, mold, mildew or fading even if they are exposed to outdoor elements.
  • Most of the PP rugs are fire-retardants, meaning they do not catch fire easily.
    Moisture-resistant and water-repellent, so they are perfect to use in both the indoors and outdoors.
  • Polypropylene rugs are lightweight with a low density. So, they are easy to transport and install.
  • PP rugs mostly have low-density and low pile weaves, which makes them lightweight to handle and easy to clean.
  • These rugs are designed to be soft and offer the right amount of comfort needed.
  • They have the same look and feel of natural fiber rugs.
  • More affordable than nylon or wool rugs without compromising the benefits of quality and durability.

Here are the Drawbacks of Polypropylene Rugs

  • Not highly resilient to high foot traffic
  • Usually tear down as a consequence of high foot traffic and heavy furniture
  • Oil-based stains are not easy to remove from this type of rug. So they are not the perfect choice for dining rooms or kitchen.

So, is Polypropylene Rug Safe for Babies?

Polypropylene itself is not toxic. But polypropylene rug is often treated with several chemicals. These chemicals helps to make the rug stain-resistant, anti-bacterial and fire retardants. Unfortunately, these substances can evaporate and leach out which could cause serious health issues.

Some questionable compounds that most synthetic rugs or carpets may contain:

  • Toxic dyes- These may be used for the dying process.
  • Pesticides and Fungicides
  • Fire retardants
  • Glues and other types of adhesive elements: These may contain formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.
  • Synthetic rubber: it may have phthalates
  • PFCs- These are added to make a rug stain resistant and water –repellent.

These substances are of great concern if you have infants, crawling babies and kids who spend a lot of time playing on the rug or floor. Even if the toxins in rugs may migrate into household dust and be inhaled everyone who lives there.

Even a 100% wool rug with backing that may contains synthetic latex.

To sum it up, polypropylene and other synthetic rugs have several health risks which makes them an unsafe options for babies. So, it’s wise to go for a non-toxic natural rugs.

What Type of Rugs are Safe for Babies?

Fortunately, there are a lot of truly non-toxic rug options out there.

Wool Rug

It is one of the safest options if you have crawling babies. Wool rugs are hypo-allergenic, soft, resilient. They are also durable, and flame retardant.

Cotton Rug

These rugs are breathable, soft and lightweight.

Jute Rug

These are made of natural fiber, meaning they are health-friendly and eco-friendly.

Seagrass and Sisal rugs are the other examples of natural options.

What are the Health Risks of Polypropylene Rugs?

Any synthetic rug if it is treated with stain protectors, fire retardants, and insecticides could trigger serious health complications from allergies to nausea.

Styrene is a common substance in all varieties of synthetic rugs. Unfortunately, is a Styrene is a potential cancerous substance.

Flame retardant PP rugs may contain bromine which may cause thyroid and endocrine disruption.

Water-repellent or stain-resistant rugs may contain Phthalates and PFCs. These chemicals are added to synthetic area rugs that are labeled as water-repellent or stain-resistant.

These substances are responsible to disrupt the endocrine function, lower the immunity, and brain damage.

Synthetic rugs are treated with insecticides chemicals which may cause stinging eyes, dizziness, rashes, and allergic reactions.

The exposure to those toxic chemical, in the long run, can result into cancer and birth defects.

VOCs result due to the combinations of several chemicals in the process of synthetic rug manufacture. Due to low concentration off gassing, you may suffer irritation to the eye, nose and throat. High levels off-gassing may cause kidney, liver and nervous systems weakening, failure, or damage.

So, Should you Completely Avoid Polypropylene Rug?

No. You should not consider polypropylene rugs toxic in general.

You know each product produced in the industry has a “Material Safety Data Sheet” (MSDS). This sheet covers the toxicity level of each material used.

Cheaply made Polypropylene Rug are treated with some chemicals which may release VOCs, resulting off-gassing. If you place the PP rug in a room where the ventilation is not well catered for, it might cause dizziness, nausea, allergies, and headaches.

Before buying one make sure it doesn’t have high levels of VOCs. Before placing it in your home, vaccum it with a HEPA filter vacuum. This will help to remove most VOCs and keep it in open air for several days for escaping the VOCs into the atmosphere.

To avoid this negative effects, first consider the pros and cons of PP rugs. Judge for yourself is the polypropylene rugs suits you best. This type of rug can be the best option when it comes to picking a rug for outdoor arrangements.

2 Best Polypropylene Rugs

After knowing all the pros, cons and health risks of using a PP rugs, if you think that the good outweighs the bad, here are 2 best polypropylene rugs for you:

#1 Unique Loom Solo Solid Shag Collection Area Modern Plush Rug

#2 SAFAVIEH California Premium Shag Collection Non-Shedding Area Rug

That’s it!

If you have any queries, feel free to mail me or leave a comment below; I’ll be more happy to answer your questions.

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