New flooring in the residence of a pregnant woman can notably increase the risk of respiratory disease in infants.
The observed health risks are caused by increased concentrations of volatile organic compounds (in short: VOCs), such as styrene or ethylbenzene, which escape from new flooring and are then absorbed through the respiratory air. “We therefore do not recommend that laminate, carpet or floor coverings be laid in the homes of pregnant women. Although the concentrations of these volatile chemicals are lower if no adhesive is used when installing the flooring, even then the concentrations are still high enough to significantly increase the risk of infants suffering from respiratory complaints in their first few months”, explains Dr. Ulrich Franck from the UFZ. Thereby, in particular those children whose mother or father have already suffered from asthma, hay fever or other allergic diseases are affected with an up to fivefold increased risk for airway diseases.