Carpet Consumers

Trust a scientist to take consumer rights to the extreme. Analytical chemist Gerry Clark bought a new carpet for his son’s bedroom. The carpet had that common ‘new carpet’ smell but after several weeks it still hadn’t dissipated and Clark began to worry about the fumes to which his child was being exposed.

He took a chunk of the carpet into his lab and recorded a gas chromatograph (GC) for the volatile emissions. Sure enough, there were spikes due to several organic compounds. Clark took the test sample back to the shop together with his GC results, complained, and insisted the sample be sent to the manufacturer.

A week later, the company was in touch offering a replacement because the original carpet had obviously not been left to dry long enough before dispatch to the outlet. Needless to say everything smells rosy now.

Such tales are all very well for lab chemists, but what about the rest of us fobbed off with fusty floor coverings, smelly sofas, and pungent pouffes? Maybe consumers should set up an action group with its own labs to help people make a scientific case for complaints. It could be called the Prevention of Odourous New Gear Society. Or STENCH, STINK, REEK…or whatever.

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