A new study by the American Cleaning Association and the American Public Health Association suggests that many carpet cleaners, including those in New York, may be putting their health at risk.
The new study, which was released Monday, found that more than 90% of carpet cleaners nationwide use products with the antibiotic thioglycolate.
But a small group of cleaners — including some that use some of the same chemicals — were found to be exposing patients to dangerous levels of the toxicant, according to the AHA.
“The chemicals that are used in carpet cleaners are often manufactured from a chemical called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs,” Dr. Amy Hochberg, the head of the AAS’s carpet cleaning program, said in a statement.
“Many carpet cleaners use these chemicals for cleaning.
Some of them even use them for disinfecting.”
According to the study, more than one in three carpet cleaners were exposed to thioglolycolate at least once a month.
The study said that some carpet cleaners tested positive for more than 300 times the EPA’s safe limit for the chemical, which is 5,000 times the federal limit for any known human exposure.
The AHA said that because the agency did not include the exact number of carpet cleaner tests, it was unable to assess whether the chemicals were being used for other cleaning activities.
It also said that the study could not definitively identify the cleaner that was most likely to be at risk for the chemicals.
Hochberg also said carpet cleaning products should be tested for other contaminants as well, including phthalates and fragrance compounds.
“While the AAA and AHPHA are not the same organization, we do work together and we are committed to making carpet cleaning a safe and effective practice,” she said in the statement.
In the past, carpet cleaning companies have come under fire for their use of chemicals like borax and hydrogen peroxide, which are linked to bladder cancer and infertility.
Hohberg noted that some cleaners may have been using the chemicals because they wanted to keep their cleanliness ratings high.